The city of Verndale was recently awarded funding to help with planning for improved Safe Routes to Schools.

Verndale City Clerk Melissa Current and engineer Cliff Allen with Moore Engineering both noted that discussions about the need for Safe Routes to Schools have focused heavily on the risk for those attempting to cross Hwy 10 in Verndale from the north side of town to the school, on the south side of the highway.

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In order for some type of infrastructure, such as pedestrian crossing lights, to receive funding, a plan in hand is one of the important steps, Allen explained. Planning assistance grants provide communities with the resources to convene a team, understand key issues, prioritize strategies, and identify solutions that fit the local need, according to a MnDOT news release. More information on the planning process and type of assistance available through this grant is available in the Planning Assistance Guide.

While the contract is still being finalized, it's expected the total grant to Verndale at this time is around $10,000 - $11,000.

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In all, 19 schools and communities in Minnesota will benefit from nearly $350,000 in planning assistance and “Boost” grants to help support or start Safe Routes to School programs, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced this week.

SRTS is an international program to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion around schools, increase physical activity and improve health by making it easier for students to walk and bicycle to school and in daily life.

MnDOT announced the availability of this funding in October 2020. Grants in this solicitation are funded with state and federal Safe Routes to School dollars. Historically, nearly 70 percent of these funds have supported work within greater Minnesota communities.

More information about SRTS is available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes or the SRTS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaSafeRoutestoSchool/.

The following entities were awarded in this fund cycle:

Safe Routes to School 2021 Boost Implementation Grants:

  • West Central Initiative
  • Red Lake School District
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • City of Tyler
  • Richfield Public Schools
  • Seward Montessori School
  • South Saint Paul Public Schools

Safe Routes to School 2021 Planning Assistance Grants:

  • Underwood Public School
  • City of Verndale
  • City of Shorewood
  • Adrian Public Schools
  • City of Littlefork
  • City of Paynesville
  • Hancock Public School
  • Rochester Public Schools
  • Oshki Ogimaag Charter School/Cook County SRTS
  • City of Chisholm

Safe Routes to School 2021 Demonstration Project Technical Assistance Awards:

  • Ashby Public Schools
  • Saint Paul Public Schools
  • City of Warren
  • City of La Crescent
  • City of Burnsville
  • Lake City