Tryon applies for $2.6M grant for new paving, bike lanes, sidewalks on Hwy. 176

Published 12:34 pm Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pedestrians and bicyclists might find Hwy. 176 in Tryon easier to use in the future.

The Town of Tryon agreed this week to apply for a federal grant to improve U.S. 176 from the stateline to Harmon Field Road.

If awarded, the federal funding could mean sidewalks and bike lanes, along with new paving, curb and guttering and landscaping along the approximate 2.6 mile stretch.

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Town council agreed to apply for the TIGER II grant, which is an extension of the TIGER grant program for job creation and stimulus through funding of shovel ready capital improvement projects.

This grant requires no match, but the town agreed to use $12,000 as a match to help strengthen the grant application. Tryons Business and Tourism Development Coordinator Crys Armbrust also said he is applying for a local grant to also use as a match.

Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree says the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA) has been working to prepare the application for funding for the Streetscape project downtown along U.S. 176 from the state line to Harmon Field Road.

Representative Heath Shuler has already agreed to provide a letter of support for the project, according to Hembree, and the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) has indicated that Tryon is the only community in the region applying for the funding.

Armbrust said the federal government appropriated $660 million in June, of which, $120 million was designated for rural projects. Tryon has already made a pre-application for the funding and the actual application is due on Monday.

Armbrust said he and Mark Byington worked on the figures to create a $2.6 million project for Tryon. He says phase I is shovel ready, because the town previously did construction drawings in 2001 which could be used.

It would be quite a boon for Tryon if we are awarded this grant, Armbrust said. This is a sweet deal.”

The grant application is split into three sections, with the first being from McCown Street to Howard Street, the second from the state line to McCown Street and the third from Howard Street to Harmon Field. The total project cost is estimated at $2,643,724.

Town officials said if the town is awarded the grant, public input on the design will be required.