What’s up at the bottom of the viaduct?

Published 2:32 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

One of the great things about living in a small community is we notice when something grows. Even little changes in our day-to-day life feel large when you live in a small village. So, it was only going to be a matter of time before folks started to take notice of what is going on near the Americus welcome signage on HW 19.

In 2012, Americus turned their eye towards the future and claimed “Complete Street City” status. This would begin to address the city’s traditional transportation needs, but also have the opportunity to build a healthier community. Pedestrians and cyclists would benefit from these efforts. Along with activity around the viaduct, other little changes you might have noticed over time are new sidewalks on HW 19. This project was identified in 2014. Recently, striping for bike lanes has been taking place and in many areas the initiative is enjoying completion.

The 2014 project of creating great sidewalks came as a grant award. The City of Americus applied for a grant, funded by federal dollars, but brokered through the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The sidewalk project demanded some very specific qualifications be met. Progress has been slow but is due to come to completion by the end of February. The activity being noticed now is the finishing touch of the 2014 project and will ultimately provide some landscaping, lighting, flags, seating benches and a small trail surrounding the area at the bottom of the viaduct. Previous Mayor, Barry Blount, reports the improvements will provide pedestrians more miles to enjoy walking, and in walking the new sidewalks, walkers are welcome to enjoy a rest at what is considered a gateway to the city.

Outside of a 10% match, the funds are not our local taxes but were procured by our local neighbors and for the betterment of our city. It is considered an honor to be given the grant funds and with such developments Americus’ infrastructure value increases. While many of us may not get excited about infrastructure until it becomes problematic, it is to be celebrated when citizens are gifted with good pedestrian thoroughfares. Perhaps it should be doubly celebrated when those improvements also come hand in hand with beautification, an incentive to take a walk and an opportunity to take a rest.

It may seem like a little change, but for a community like ours, those “littles” add up to much. A special appreciation is due those who procured the grant and put time and effort towards adding generational value to our home.