FOLEY – Access for pedestrians along Alabama 59 and in other areas of Foley will soon improve following actions by the City Council.

The council voted Monday, June 3, to seek funding for more than one mile of sidewalk along Alabama 59. The city will apply for a grant through the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

If the state approves the grant, the city would extend sidewalks along the highway from Azalea Avenue south to Pride Drive, near Foley High School, a distance of about 1.25 miles. 

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said more walkways are needed along the highway.

“It’s something that we need to do,” Hellmich said. “People walk up and down the grassy area there all the time. It will help us with our connectivity because we have a lot of east-west sidewalks, but we don’t have anything north-south there.”

The sidewalk would be built along the west side of the highway. Hellmich said city engineers studied both sides of the roadway to determine the best location for the sidewalks.

Foley will also expand and improve sidewalks in two other areas of the city.

The council voted to increase Street Department funding to pay for sidewalk repairs along U.S. 98 between Cypress Street and Juniper Street in east Foley. 

“We’re replacing sidewalks that have been there since I was a kid that run from Juniper all the way to Cypress on Highway 98 on the south side,” Hellmich said. “It had a lot of messed up areas where the oak trees have grown up and caused the sidewalks to crack, so we’re going to have a new modern sidewalk there.”

The city also approved design and layout changes for sidewalks near Foley High School near Pride Drive and Mathis Elementary. The changes will extend the walkways to connect existing sidewalks.

“At the high school, we had a little gap from the parking lot over to Pride. This will connect all the sidewalks in the area,” Hellmich said. “Our TAP grant just didn’t quite get it done the whole way. So we’re just filling in that short gap.”

The city continues to review connectivity throughout Foley and has included funding for several sidewalk projects in the current budget. In addition to the items discussed June 3, the City Council approved $1 million for sidewalk projects in the budget approved for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2023.