The Naytahwaush Charter School will receive $13,500 in state planning assistance from the Safe Routes to School program.

Planning assistance grants provide communities the resources to convene a team, understand key issues, prioritize strategies and identify solutions that fit local needs.

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Hawley, further along in the process, has finished the planning stage and will receive $300,000 to build 12.5 blocks of sidewalk near its schools, and to leverage five blocks of trail that will be built at the same time with other funding. Construction will occur in 2021.

Infrastructure grants provide construction funding for projects that promote and encourage more students to walk or bicycle to school by making the routes safer and more accessible. Projects can include sidewalks, trails, crosswalk markings, flashing beacons and other traffic control devices.

In all, 63 schools in Minnesota will benefit from $2.3 million in planning assistance and infrastructure grants that support the Safe Routes to School program, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced recently.

Safe Routes to School is an international program to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion around schools, increase physical activity and improve health by making it easier for students to walk and bicycle to school.

"Thousands of Minnesota students will now have more opportunities to safely walk and bike to schools and improve their health," said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. "Thanks to the Safe Routes to School program we are helping to build the next generation of multi-modal transportation users."

MnDOT announced the available planning assistance and infrastructure grants in October 2018. The infrastructure solicitation received $6.7 million in funding requests and 12 projects were awarded state funding for construction projects totaling $2 million. Regional partners will administer planning grants in their area and MnDOT will administer the construction grants.

The Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are funded with state and federal Safe Routes to School dollars. Historically, nearly 70 percent of these funds have supported work within Greater Minnesota communities.

Since 2005, MnDOT awarded more than $38 million in federal and state funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for programs and planning that promote walkable and bikeable communities.

More information about Safe Routes to School including Bike to School Day and a map of SRTS projects, available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes or you can go to the SRTS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaSafeRoutestoSchool/.