Over the past year and a half, there’s been a lot of federal money coming into local governments, and on Wednesday, Nov.17, the City of High Point announced nearly $20 million in new funds through a grant from the US Department of Transportation meant to make walking and biking paths safer and promote economic development in the city.

 The grant is called a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant.

According to a Nov. 17 press release from the City of High Point, the money will be used to “enhance equitable access to public investments and community assets, spur transit-oriented economic development, and provide a safe, sustainable, and active route of transportation for walking, bicycling, and micromobility.”

 One part of the large greenway and streetscape enhancement project will involve connecting “lower-income communities of color” in southwest High Point to High Point’s mass transit facilities. 

The project will also enhance access to “essential” service providers like the Wake Forest Baptist Health High Point Medical Center and the High Point Public Library, as well as to new commercial development, and new recreation destinations such as the city’s new $35-million downtown stadium.

The system enhancement will also connect two Title 1 public elementary schools, six public parks, a public recreation center, two large Boys and Girls Clubs and 12 historic mills.

The work won’t all be done at once.  Instead, the city has planned three stages of implementation.

 Southwest Heritage Greenway – a shared-use path that connects downtown train terminals to community parks, schools, residential and redeveloping areas is one part of the project. There are also plans for a North Elm Street Streetscape –  which will create a “Complete Street” from Commerce Drive to Sunset Drive.”

High Point city officials point out that US Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and US. Representative Kathy Manning were key in helping the city get the grant.

In addition, the city’s partnerships with the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Southwest Renewal Foundation were critical. 

The project requires matching funds from the City of High Point of roughly $7 million, as well as  $200,000 in matching funds from the NCDOT. The Southwest Renewal Foundation has committed $900,000 to the project.