Broken Arrow awarded $5.8 million grant for infrastructure improvements
Source: City of Broken Arrow
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $5.84 million RAISE grant to the City of Broken Arrow for planning a wide range of infrastructure improvements.
This Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant can fund engineering design, environmental planning and services, public outreach, right-of-way, and utility planning.
When the Broken Arrow Expressway was built, it divided Broken Arrow into north and south. The federal government’s goal with this grant is to reconnect people where major highways have separated communities.
The grant’s emphasis coincides well with Broken Arrow’s mission to improve connectivity throughout the city through a variety of travel options.
The City’s RAISE grant application incorporates improvements to the Elm Place and 9th Street corridors, from Kenosha Street to Albany Street, and at the Aspen Avenue and Omaha Street intersection.
It includes pedestrian improvements such as trails, side paths, sidewalks and ADA upgrades along the Kenosha Street corridor from Aspen Avenue to Lynn Lane and from Kenosha Street to 46th Street South near the entrance of Rosa Parks Elementary.
Also included are trails, side paths, sidewalks, and ADA improvements from Hillside Drive, beginning at Camino Villa and proceeding westward to Lynn Lane.
Plus, an additional trail would extend north from Hillside Drive to tie into Nienhuis Park and Broken Arrow High School.
City staff is coordinating with the USDOT, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, INCOG, and other affected entities regarding this monumental project.
The City of Broken Arrow has applied for this grant many times under different names from various presidential administrations but had yet to be selected to receive the grant until now.
In January, City Manager Michael Spurgeon and Assistant City Manager Kenny Schwab met with representatives from the Indian Nation Council of Governments (INCOG) to discuss various ways to apply for this type of grant, as it is highly competitive.
“INCOG recommended applying for a planning grant as opposed to a construction grant,” Schwab said. “This planning grant allows you to look at multi-modal options—sidewalks, trails, streets, signals and tie it all together as you move into design.”
In a presentation to the City Council on July 18, Schwab added a note of caution.
“It could be a year before we get the agreement in, but it’s another $5.84 million we didn’t have in our transportation fund,” he said.
The RAISE grant also coincides with a $1.11 million dollar award from the Federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STP).
The STP grant provides flexible funding that states and localities may use for projects to improve federal highways, bridges or tunnel projects, public roads, pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and capital projects, including inter-city bus terminals.
The City also received a previous award of $3 million in Federal STP grant funding for the 9th Street Corridor from Kenosha to Albany Streets.
Currently, the City is negotiating with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to include the 9th Street Corridor interchange improvements in ODOT’s eight-year plan.
“I think over the last eight years, including the RAISE grant, we’ve probably received over $20 million of grant funding for various projects,” Spurgeon said. “I think we’ve worked very hard to make sure those federal dollars come back to our city to help supplement these projects.”
The RAISE grant application included endorsements from U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, State Sens. John Haste and Joe Newhouse, State Reps. Ross Ford and Kevin McDugle, Broken Arrow City Council and leadership, Tulsa and Wagoner Boards of County Commissioners, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz, ODOT District VIII Engineer Randle White, the Broken Arrow Chamber, NSU-Broken Arrow, INCOG Executive Director Rich Brierre and staff.