By Tom Price Jr.
The Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) awarded $500,000 to the City of Exeter for programs geared to improve transportation in the downtown area.
The funds are part of the Transportation Enhancement Activities (TEA) projects which will provide more than $4.6 million to Tulare County cities for projects ranging from pedestrian corridor improvements to preserving historical sites.
Applications for the TEA program were reviewed and ranked based on cost effectiveness. Following the review Exeter was recommended for the $500,000 award in which the city must match $1,000.
Lindsay by far ranked the highest netting more than half of the available funds, $2.4 million, with a local matching cost of $313,000.
The TEA funds will be allotted to Exeter in two phases. The first phase will be the design phase which will be aided by $50,000 in Federal TEA funds. Phase two will be the completion of the construction and will be supported by the remaining $450,000 in funding.
The money will be used for a landscaped median on Pine and Palm streets. It will also be used to create bulb outs, where corners of intersections are narrowed to shorten the distance for pedestrians crossing the street. All curbs will be made wheelchair accessible at every corner on both Pine and Palm streets.
Other local communities benefiting from the Federal TEA funds are Porterville who will receive $180,000 for a mural project, bicycle storage facilities and gateway entrance signs and Lindsay who will continue to rejuvenate their downtown streets similar to what has been done in the Sweet Brier Plaza area.