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Walking a time-consuming line
City still waiting for sidewalk grant
This section of Sparta Street is still without any signs of a sidewalk more than 16 months after receiving a grant from the state.

Where’s the Sparta Street sidewalk extension to the hospital?
The city of McMinnville was awarded a $948,080 Multimodal Access Grant from TDOT more than 16 months ago in June 2015 for a sidewalk along Sparta Street. However, there are no signs of a sidewalk.
According to city administrator Bill Brock, the grant is slowly spinning its wheels in state government.
“On occasion, some of you have asked about where the sidewalk is and where’s the money the state has given us?" said Brock to officials at Tuesday night's city meeting. "What you have in front of you is a flow chart that somebody in the state worked on. I don’t know if this is how they spend our money or how they make us jump through hoops to spend our money. This flow chart represents sidewalks, the $1 million grant we got a year ago.”
A blue line represents the route the grant has taken through the government process in the past year and a pink line represents what remains in the process. Currently, the grant is stopped at an environmental roadblock.
“The blue line represents a year’s worth of work, and the pink line that you see is where we have to go,” said Brock. “When we get to a stop sign, we can’t go any further. We can’t jump ahead or we jeopardize the entire grant. We are right now stopped at the environmental stage. We turned in all the paperwork and we have to wait for the state to approve it. We can’t do anything. We have to sit still.”
At stake is a reimbursable grant that will fund 95 percent of the work, with 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.
“We have to go through these hoops,” said Brock. “That’s why it takes so long to get a project going. Why we have to take this many steps to get a project done, I don’t know. It’s getting to the point where it is impossible to get things done.”
Brock estimates the state could take another year, or more, to work the grant through the approval process.