SHADY COVE — News of a grant application that would create the city's longest sidewalk and its very first bike lane was welcomed at Thursday's City Council session.

SHADY COVE — News of a grant application that would create the city's longest sidewalk and its very first bike lane was welcomed at Thursday's City Council session.

"It's great to hear something good here for a change," said Councilwoman Alison Curtis.

Public Works Director George Bostic said he has applied for a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation that would fund a 5-foot wide sidewalk and a 5-foot wide bike path for .3 mile on the west side of Highway 62, between Cleveland and Williams streets.

Currently the city only has two sidewalks, one in front of the PremierWest Bank on Highway 62 and the other running uphill to the White Oak Ridge subdivision. There are no formally designated bike lanes.

"The grant would be for fiscal year 2010-11," said Bostic. "The estimated cost is $269,000 with Shady Cove's share being $17,000 of the total."

He said the project also includes either moving electrical wires or putting them underground.

Bostic said for a long time the city has been carrying $17,000 in the budget specifically for a bike path, and "now this is a great opportunity to use it."

"I'm excited," said Curtis. "We've been talking about bicycle paths and sidewalks for the 12 or 13 years that I've been here."

"I'm excited, too," said Councilwoman Lois Holland. "I've been in limbo on this for many years, and our kids really need a bicycle path along Highway 62.

"We have a lot of people on the north end of town walking along Highway 62 for access to the post office, city hall and the market," said Bostic. "This would really improve pedestrian safety along the highway."

The city won't know if the proposed project will make ODOT's final funding list until October.

"If it makes the list," Bostic said, "we can go from there to design, and from there to project completion."

Councilman Gary Hughes was concerned that curbs recently built along the highway in front of city hall as part of the new branch library and parking lot project might have to be removed.

The curbs can stay, Bostic said. "We aligned (them) with this project in mind.

"Everyone agrees it's a great project and it's needed," he said, "but like all grant projects there is a limited amount of money to go around.

"I've had plans for sidewalks and bike paths along Highway 62 going back as far as 1996," he said, "but we've never been able to find the funding. With this we may finally get something done."

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. E-mail him at newsmiller@yahoo.com