The Avedis Foundation has awarded the City of Shawnee a considerable grant for trail improvements associated with implementation of the Master Trail Plan.

The Avedis Foundation has awarded the City of Shawnee a considerable grant for trail improvements associated with implementation of the Master Trail Plan.

The $641,742 grant will be matched with city funding to accomplish projects over the next two fiscal years. Mayor Wes Mainord is enthusiastic about the project.

“This right here is another big step that Shawnee is doing to make it a great place to live for all,” Mainord said. “This is a great thing happening in our city.”

City planning director Justin Erickson presented grant details to city commission.

“It’s with great excitement that I come before you this evening to request authorization of the mayor to sign the grant agreement with the Avedis Foundation,” Erickson said.

The funding, Erickson noted, will provide trail improvements throughout the city.

“The highlights of the funding include a major multi-purpose trail along Bryan Street, improvements along that trail to connect it to Grove School, as well as further west to the new Wyndemere subdivision,” he detailed. “It also would include matching funding, provided by the city, to conduct sidewalk improvements along Independence Street, providing safe routes to Sequoyah Elementary.”

Additional planned improvements include lighting of portions of the Airport Trail to enhance security and increase use, and a sidewalk connection from the new sidewalks along Kickapoo Street to the YMCA and the Airport Trail along Saratoga Street.

Erickson described the significance of the funding.

“The city’s been benefited by other substantial grants for sidewalks and trails, but really nothing has compared even close to the Avedis Foundation grant,” he said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the grant. Erickson said he hopes improvements will begin this fall.