RUMFORD — A concerted effort by
municipal officials and the grant-writing skills of the parent of a Rumford Elementary School student has resulted in funding for
safer sidewalks.

The town has been notified
of an $80,000 grant from the Maine Department of Transportation to improve pedestrian safety along Essex, Oxford and
Maine avenues.

Laurie Soucy, a school health
coordinator with years of grant-writing experience, wrote the document after meeting with the police chief, a selectman and
three teachers, Principal Anne Chamberlin said.

“We saw it as a need, because kids
were walking on the road,” Chamberlin said. “We’re pleased.”

Soucy said she used her contacts with
the Healthy Maine Partnership in writing the grant. Her
daughter attends the school. She said the MDOT would meet with the
local group to work on a plan. The town’s match will be in
planning and labor.

Chamberlin said the streets near the
school are always filled with vehicles when school lets out for the
day.

“Once the sidewalk ends, the kids
walk in the road,” she said. “They are not cognizant that they may be walking in
the road. There have been close calls and the
potential is there for an accident.”

The MDOT notification letter says that
the funding will be available no earlier than October 2009 and that
the work must be completed during the department’s 2010-11 biennium.

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