During Shawnee's City Commission meeting, Briggs told the board that Avedis and the city would partner in implementing the Master Trails and Sidewalk Plan — a 5-year plan to build 14 miles of sidewalks at a cost of around $3.5 million.

Avedis Foundation President and CEO Michelle Briggs shared an announcement Monday that will continue the city’s efforts to improve walkability by tying its sidewalks together.

During Shawnee’s City Commission meeting, Briggs told the board that Avedis and the city would partner in implementing the Master Trails and Sidewalk Plan — a 5-year plan to build 14 miles of sidewalks at a cost of around $3.5 million.

“Avedis will match, dollar-for dollar, $350,000 annually through 2021,” she said. “There are some unallocated improvements, so we can be receptive to new projects, including the planned new elementary school by Shawnee Public Schools, whose location is unknown at this time.”

The project speaks to the core mission of Avedis: health, safety, physical and emotional wellness and quality of life, she said.

“If you review the planned improvements, you will see a few consistent themes: connections to schools, parks, neighborhoods and existing safe walking paths,” Briggs said.

When complete, there will be multiple north/ south and east/west connections throughout the community, she said.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this initiative,” she said.

City Manager Justin Erickson said, “It’s been a pleasure to work with the Avedis Foundation and Michelle Briggs on this initiative and I am so thankful for this support — I know how important this effort is to all of us and the community.”

Erickson said what has been done for the walkability and quality of life in the last few years has been substantial: 

• Downtown Main Street streetscape and sidewalks and the Bell Street Sidewalk 

• Shawnee Splash and Boy Scout Park Splash Pad (Avedis support) 

• Bryan Street Trail and connection along Independence (Avedis support) 

• Union Street sidewalk (Avedis support) 

• Airport Trail rehab, extension to St. Gregory’s and lighting (Avedis support) 

• Kickapoo Street 

• a variety of other smaller sidewalk projects, pending grant before ODOT (Avedis support) “This generous gift from Avedis will ensure that these efforts will continue and that we strengthen neighborhoods and provide important connections,” he said. “I would like to thank the staff members that help make these projects happen. City Engineer John Krywicki and Planning Director Justin DeBruin, and their staff, have been essential to these efforts.” ——— You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.