City of Jonesboro, A-State applying for $20 million dollar infrastructure grant
JONESBORO, Ark- The city of Jonesboro and Arkansas State University is applying for a 20 million dollar grant.
If received, it would upgrade the town's infrastructure to meet the growing needs of Jonesboro.
The Rebuilding American infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity or RISE grant would fund a 21-mile multi-use trail in town.
But Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver says it would provide more than just a walking path.
“The pathway will create job opportunities; it creates an ability for people to get to one location to another. The connection to Arkansas State University to multiple areas in our community, downtown, other parks we have in our city. We’ve got to look towards the future, and this is what this is,” said the mayor.
The trail would stretch across town, featuring rest areas, and would provide Wi-Fi hot spots that would stretch to area neighborhoods.
The trail’s design would also improve the town's drainage system.
The plan was created through a collaborative effort through multiple entities.
The mayor says this would attract businesses to Jonesboro.
A-State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse says this would benefit the university.
“We’re not just selling our campus and the academic programs we have here. We’re also selling the city of Jonesboro,” says Chancellor Damphousse. “While the city is great, we do, know there are areas for improvement as far as quality of life. Such as walking paths and bike paths.”
Support for the U.S. Department of Transportation grant has come from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Senator John Boozman, among others.
Damphousse says this would integrate A-State and Jonesboro.
If received, the city would be responsible for providing four million dollars for the project.
The mayor says additional recreational opportunities are a top request from the public.
“This provides for families; this provides for senior citizens to have a healthier lifestyle as well. We’ve got to look for the future and, this is what this is,” says Mayor Copenhaver.
Mayor Copenhaver will pitch the plan soon in Washington D.C.
The city expects to find out by early November if they will receive the grant.