City plans to appeal for road funds


Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 12:36 a.m.
The Gainesville City Commission voted unanimously Monday to add transportation and infrastructure funding for an east Gainesville neighborhood to the city's federal legislative agenda.
Members of the Action Network, an interfaith organization of churches that organize around community issues, have lobbied for repairs and expansion of roads in the Duval neighborhood since last year.
"Duval residents have observed major developments and growth in other Gainesville communities while seeing consistent deterioration of our own," said Barbara Andrews, a representative with Open Door Community Ministry.
Chief among the problems seen by the ministry, which conducted a survey of Duval residents in February 2004 to determine the major issues in the community, were issues with infrastructure, Andrews said. Roadways in the area are often unpaved, too narrow for more than one car or are bordered by ditches that can be a hazard to vehicles and breed mosquitos and other pests, she said.
About 20 members and leaders of the organization showed up at Monday's meeting to ask the city to add the projects to its federal list, following a meeting last week on the subject with U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and City Commissioner Rick Bryant.
"The city needs to contact Congresswoman Brown to tell her it is a priority," Andrews said. "We will support you but we need your leadership to make the re-evaluation of the community a reality."
The improvements sought by the network, which include paving and widening roads and covering drainage ditches, are expected to cost millions of dollars, city officials said. The exact cost of road improvements in Duval is now under review by the city's Public Works Committee, interm assistant City Manager Teresa Scott said during the meeting.
The cost of the improvements, which add to the $130 million the city has already requested, from state and federal governments, gave some commissioners pause.
"For a town of 117,000 we've already made an awful lot of requests," Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said. "It's sort of a challenge when you ask us to approach Congresswoman Brown with these requests after we've already made requests."
Jeff Adelson can be reached at (352) 374-5095 or adelsoj@gvillesun.com.

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