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Searcy will get more than $4 million in federal funding for a greenway project



Searcy, Arkansas – Searcy will be getting more than $4 million as part of a federal grant offering a pathway to connect the city with those who love being outside.

As part of the RAISE grant program, $4.2 million of $40 million in federal infrastructure funding will be distributed to various locations throughout Arkansas.

According to city officials, this money—which will go toward the greenway project—is the largest federal grant that Searcy has ever received.

Around Berryhill Park in Searcy, people may be seen out and about, as well as kids like Zemaikia Johnson on their bikes, “I love riding my bike and I just want to do it every day,” Johnson said.

They are making the most of the park, the colder weather, and the nearby bike trail. The bike route will be extended with the grant funds; it is currently around five miles long.

The funding is for planning, according to city planner Richard Stafford, so the city can use it for more than just the design survey work needed to build a 21-mile bike track and pathway.

“So the biggest point with this, is to create this transportation system and connect all of the major intersection points in town,” Stafford said.

According to Mayor Matt Faulkner, the proposal is in line with the city’s master plan, and residents have been requesting trails and bike pathways.

“This RAISE grant allows us to address some areas of persistent poverty throughout the community individuals and families who may not have a vehicle as a transportation option that’s going to allow them to connect to either our school system or places to work and shop,” Faulkner said.

Not only will you be able to get from locations like Harding University to downtown, but also have a connection to another municipality.

“We will have a spur as part of the network that reaches into Kensett so it’ll allow their citizens to come to Searcy and also access the Riverview school system,” Faulkner said.

According to city officials, such efforts are part of a larger plan to make the city’s roads safer and easier to get around so that people like Johnson and his mother Marishia may continue cycling forward.

“Whenever they do expand and they’ll kind of be more for us to do,” Marisha Johnson said.

The planning phase, according to officials, should be finished in around a year. The next action would be to submit an application for the capital grant, which would pay for the project’s actual construction.


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