The Kingsport school system will receive almost $50,000 in state grant money to make routes to and from almost a dozen city schools safer for students.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer recently announced Safe Routes to School funding for Kingsport totaling $46,200 for improvements around 11 city schools.

The Safe Routes to School Program is a statewide initiative designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. This year, TDOT awarded grants to 10 localities.

“This grant will allow us to provide bicycle and pedestrian safety education to all students in grades K-8, as well as having several activities for families throughout the community,” said Misty Keller, Kingsport City Schools’ director of coordinated school health.

“Biking and walking are two of the easiest ways to be physically active,” Keller said. “We’re very excited to be able to educate and encourage students and families to be physically active by walking and biking more often. Without Safe Routes to Schools funding, this type of education and physical activity promotion would not be possible.”

Kingsport will use the Safe Routes to School funds to implement a School Activity Plan that Keller said potentially would impact more than 4,000 students in 11 city schools.

The goal, Keller said, is to teach safety education and healthy habits by identifying opportunities and creating partnerships among the schools, families, local transportation officials, law enforcement, health advocates, and the community.

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by TDOT.

“Safe Routes to School is an innovative program that provides an opportunity to work closely with schools, the community, and local government to create a safe environment for children to walk or bike to school,” Schroer said in a news release. “Since 2007, these grants have funded more than 50 different improvement projects across the state.”

This year, TDOT provided more than $1.6 million in Safe Routes to School funds to 10 localities for projects across the state. Kingsport City Schools partnered with the city of Kingsport on the development of the grant application and scope of projects to be included.

The other nine school systems to receive the grants were Anderson County, Dyersburg, Lenoir City, Fairview, Lewisburg, Hendersonville, Tullahoma, Jackson and Woodbury.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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