A gravel path leads up to Mill Pond Elementary on Mill Road. The City of Yelm plans on constructing a quarter-mile long sidewalk that would fix trouble spots for pedestrians and students who walk to either Mill Pond or Ridgeline Middle School.

The Yelm City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, Aug. 13, to allow Mayor JW Foster to sign into an approximate $90,000 design service agreement to extend the sidewalk on Mill Road.

This action is one of the first the council will take toward providing a sidewalk along the street leading up to Mill Pond Elementary School.

Public Works Project Manager Patrick Hughes said once the environmental and engineering design services are finished, the project will be “shovel-ready” for prospective construction grants, which the city plans on pursuing.

“Our intent here is to get this sidewalk designed this year, this summer, and have it bid and go to construction in spring of next year with the actual construction to start at, or about, the time school gets out next summer,” Hughes said.

Contractors will likely have the project finished by the end of summer 2020.

The project is listed in the city’s six-year capital improvement plan.

Hughes said WHP Pacific Inc., the contractor, was chosen from six applicants.

The city has applied for a $300,000 grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board for the construction phase of the project.

“We are hopeful that we will have some favorable results,” Hughes said.

Last year, the city applied for grant funding for the Mill Road sidewalk project, but efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. Hughes said he hopes having the project shovel-ready will increase the chances of being selected for construction grants.

The sidewalk will be a quarter-mile long and 6 feet in width. A few power poles will likely need to be moved around, Hughes said.

“If you knew anybody who lived near that stretch of road, you’d probably know that it’s a very dangerous situation. Plus, the fact that it’s dark, it’s not illuminated, and it runs right in front of an elementary school — all those make this a very, very high-scoring, favorable project for funding,” he said.

After the meeting, Police Chief Todd Stancil said the intersection around the elementary school has been a notable problem for pedestrians. He said the project to extend the sidewalk past the school has been a long time coming.

“It’s been something I’ve been talking about for nearly 20 years,” he said.

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