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Sidewalk project slowly progresses
The project which will hopefully bring a sidewalk to this portion of Sparta Street has nearly cleared the environmental phase, according to the city.

The Sparta Street sidewalk project has inched forward.
“The sidewalk project is about through the environmental stage,” said McMinnville city administrator Bill Brock, who couldn’t help take a jab at the situation. “It’s moving like a streak of lightning through the process.”
The city of McMinnville was awarded a $948,080 Multimodal Access Grant from TDOT two years ago in June 2015 for a sidewalk along Sparta Street. However, there are no signs of a sidewalk. The grant is slowly spinning its wheels in state government, including two trips through the environmental evaluation stage.
McMinnville Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee says the state is attempting to speed up the process.
“TDOT has made the necessary revisions to the environmental documents and they are currently under review,” Hennessee said. “The design phase is underway in order to be ready to move more quickly into the next phase upon receipt of the notification that the environmental document has cleared.”
Making the grant worth the wait is the fact it will fund 95 percent of the project, with only 5 percent funded with local matching dollars. Total project cost is approximately $1 million. The 95 percent is reimbursable, meaning the city must fund the project, then be repaid by the state. However, no work can begin until the state gives its approval or the grant will be lost.
An estimate on how much longer the process will take is unknown.