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Kingston greenway addition nixed again

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By Mike Gibson

Kingston city officials got some disheartening news about the ongoing Ladd greenway project, even as the happy closing of the project’s first phase approaches.
Mayor Troy Beets reported at the Oct. 1 council work session that the city’s latest application for a grant to fund the project’s fourth “D” section was turned down by the state. Kingston had already sought a grant for section D before, and had been turned down, but officials hoped that this application would be more successful.
The reason for the rejection this time around, Beets said, was simple: “They just had too many applicants for too little money.”
Beets isn’t giving up yet.
“They did ask us to resubmit for next year,” he said. “We’ll tweak it and resubmit it Nov. 1.”
In the meantime, the city is still finishing final details on the completed sections. Those final details are almost entirely administrative at this point, and Beets told project engineer Danl Hall to come back with a schedule for a November ribbon-cutting.
The ceremony has been delayed so far, in large part due to the difficulties of coordinating schedules of all the state, local and business officials with a stake in attending the ceremony.
Councilman Tony Brown said although “we’re saying this is complete, in my mind, it’s not really complete.” That’s because several of the planned amenities for the greenway — mile markers, benches, rest areas — were not addressed by this first phase of the project.
The good news is that the city still has $382,381 in state grant money left over. For that reason, council agreed that it would be wisest to keep the project open, lest the city lose access to those funds.
Keeping it open also allows officials to continue to make use of the state’s ruling to allow the land donated for the greenway as in lieu of hard cash matching funds.
The grants involved with building the greenway have required local matching funds, but the Tennessee Department of Transportation accepted developer Matt Caldwell’s donation of the land as a so-called soft match on behalf of the city.