The city of Vernon is making progress on one of the residentials in town. It's paving part of Maiden Street -- for the first time ever. Maiden Street has been on the city's to-do list for years, but the cost has been preventing the project from going through. Now a stimulus grant has changed all that.
Charles Cook has lived on Maiden street for 30 years but has never had a paved road in front of his house there. As the city paved nearby streets over the decades, he always wondered why his street wasn't -- he says it needed it badly.
"Right here when it rains, man, we catch a lot of water run-off. It's kinda like a river out here," he said.
Now, thanks to $240,000 of stimulus money coming in the form of a Community Development Grant, the city is taking care of what neighbors have been hoping for.
"The citizens of Vernon would like to have their streets paved, and so would the city itself," said Mayor Pro-Tem Russell Brownlow.
Aside from Maiden Street, Vernon still has 28 miles worth of unpaved streets in town. Officials are working with a committee of residents to determine which areas to pave next. Committee member Charles McArthur says streets near schools and parks have a high priority.
"We've got so many streets that need to be paved -- that should have been paved, but now need to be paved," he said.
The committee is trying to make the city look better, and that's hard to do with dirt and gravel roads. But residents say the paved street will take care of more than just looks.
"It's good. Not only looks good, I mean, you can get on your vehicle and just drive straight through, and you don't have to be worried about bumpin' and puttin' your car out of line," McArthur said.
"It's gonna be great to get rid of some of that dirt and dust that's stirred up from the traffic," Cook said.
Officials want to continue paving the way to get rid of more rocky roads.
"If it's one block at a time or five blocks at a time, just so we get it done," Brownlow said.
Workers were putting in the curbs along Maiden Street Thursday. The entire paving project won't take long -- it should be done within the next couple of weeks.
Although Vernon is using all of the grant money on the Maiden Street project, the city will use its own money for future projects. Brownlow says they already put funds for them in next year's budget.