Walmart pathway to city

File photo

The Monticello City Council OK’d $69,000 for the preliminary design and engineering for a direct path from downtown to Walmart.

MONTICELLO — Those who want to walk to Walmart from almost anywhere in Monticello may soon be able to do that.

However, the sidewalks and walkways leading to the store won’t go down Broadway Street but instead be a block north along Washington Street.

Last week, the city council approved $69,272 for the preliminary design and engineering for the direct path to the store, to be done in the “near future.”

“The near future is anywhere from now to five years,” Mayor Ken Houston said. “It’ll be major for the city.”

Houston has made putting in connections — such as sidewalks so people can walk around the city — one of his administration’s goals.

This has led to sidewalks along Ohio and South streets to connect downtown to the schools and on to 6th Street, where the Monticello Fire Department and Indiana University Health White Memorial Hospital are located.

There is also a sidewalk along the west side of 6th leading to the businesses along Broadway.

Houston said that before the meeting, he’d seen two women walking along the shoulder of busy Broadway, which is also Indiana 24/Indiana 421.

Streets Superintendent Frank Arthur said the project could also include sewer separations along the path.

Storm water pipes would be separated from wastewater pipes so storm water doesn’t go to the wastewater treatment plant.

Monticello is under an agreed mandate with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to take major steps in reducing the water going to the plant, which had become overloaded in the past and spilled into Lake Freeman.

The new wastewater treatment plant is part of those improvements.

The pathway would have to be moved north after the intersection of Washington with 8th streets because of a lift station in the way,

Arthur said the city is having talks with Faith Covenant Fellowship at 1010 W. Washington St. about how the path may go on its property.

Things are still tentative, he said.

City officials have talked with Walmart, and if the city gets the walkway across the ditch by the store’s eastern property line, the store will take it from there.

Providing a safe crossing at busy 6th Street will also be a consideration.

Arthur, Houston and the council members talked about the possibility of a crossing light there.

Pedestrians would push the button to temporarily stop vehicles with traffic lights.

Houston said the city will look for transportation or other grants to pay for the project.