LAUREL HILL — For now, Laurel Hill residents will just have to deal with potholes on city streets.
Virgie Bowen, with the Florida Department of Transportation District 3 Chipley office, attended Laurel Hill’s May 4 City Council meeting to answer questions about filling potholes on a 3-mile segment of Steel Mill Creek Road.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a funding program to address that need that you have,” Bowen said. “So, unfortunately, we are not able to help along those lines.”
There was also a request for sidewalks along Ebenezer Road and T.E. Rogers Road. The FDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program can fund this type of improvement, but the city needs to submit an application for consideration.
“We recently did [an application],” City Clerk Nita Miller said. “Actually, it wasn’t through FDOT; it was through the Safe Routes to School Program.”
This is a different program, out of the FDOT’s safety office, and the funding comes from the same place.
There was also a request for maintenance on sidewalks near Laurel Hill School. Bowen said that when sidewalks are completed, there is no funding for maintenance; therefore, local residents typically agree to take care of the maintenance.
Numerous projects in the FDOT’s five-year work program in Okaloosa County are in the south part of the county, where most residents live. According to Bowen, FDOT is starting to look at rural areas’ concerns.
Councilwoman Debra Adams asked if there was a program pertaining to the pothole maintenance.
“There is what is called a County Incentive grant Program, but to qualify for that, you have to show how that improvement is going to relieve congestion on a state road,” Bowen said.
Councilman Daniel Lane asked Bowen if the installation of streetlights falls under a program due to their importance to safety; Bowen said it likely wasn’t under the TAP program.