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7/23/2013 11:05:00 AM
WEMS Parking lot redesign delayed until next spring

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Administrative delays have pushed back a redesign of the Williams-Elementary Middle School (WEMS) parking lot until next spring.

The project, originally scheduled for this summer, will create separate zones for buses, cars and pedestrians.

Last summer the district received a $175,000 Safe Routes to School grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for improving safety in the WEMS parking lot. The city of Williams is acting as the fiscal agent for the grant.

City Manager Brandon Buchanan said these kinds of delays are common.

"At the city we always are working to try to get things going and done as fast as possible," he said. "When we're working with state and federal agencies and going through their grant processes, it moves at their pace."

Buchanan said the city has completed the necessary environmental assessments and is waiting for approvals from different agencies.

Once that happens, Buchanan estimated the project will go to bid in January and construction will begin in April or May.

"Unfortunately, it's not moving at quite the pace we would like it to, but it is still moving," he said. "We do what we've got to do with the understanding that it's grant money, it's money that we wouldn't otherwise have been able to use, so we'll jump through the hoops we need to to get the projects done."

At the July 10 Governing Board meeting, Williams Unified School District Superintendent Rachel Savage said she was disappointed the project would not be finished before school starts this year as originally planned.

"I'm very grateful to receive those funds and to do whatever has to be done to get those buses out of the parking lot," she said. "It's just not going to happen on our terms."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Call me skeptikal

But they sure had enough money to put up a fancy, silly electronic message board out front over the summer!

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