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The city of Beaufort will use a recently awarded $500,000 federal grant for road, sidewalk, lighting, parking and other improvements along Duke Street in the Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.
The work is the beginning of a two-part project intended to draw more visitors to the historic neighborhood and create safer streets and sidewalks for residents, according to the city's grant application.
In the first phase, the city will tackle Duke Street from Bladen to Harrington streets, and the second phase would continue the project to Carteret Street -- about a third of a mile in all.
Henrietta Goode, vice president of the Northwest Quadrant Neighborhood Association, said the group discussed the project and other alternatives with the city, ultimately deciding improvements along Duke Street would make the biggest impact.
Workers will install a curb and gutter drainage system, pave roads, and add on-street parking, lighting, and sidewalks where they are deteriorating or non-existent, city manager Scott Dadson said.
"This is not meant to create a major thoroughfare on Duke Street," Dadson said.
Beaufort sought the grant earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program that benefits low- and moderate-income residents.
The Duke Street project is expected to benefit the approximately 1,240 people who live in the Northwest Quadrant, of which about 63 percent are considered low- to moderate-income, the city's application said.
"Without the provision of sidewalks, lighting and safer parking, there will continue to be safety concerns for residents -- young and old -- who walk along Duke Street to get from their homes to the commercial areas of the neighborhood because they have limited means of transportation," the grant application said.
The city has conducted multiple studies and projects in the area in the past 15 years.
Cooperation and trust between the city and Northwest Quadrant residents have grown recently after years of contention, officials have said.
"I think (residents) are a lot more accepting since the city has been more open about what's happening when and where," Goode said. "I see it as a good bond between the city and its neighborhoods."
The city has not determined when it will begin soliciting bids for the work, Dadson said. Work must be completed within two years.
If Beaufort completes its plan on time, it would be eligible for a grant worth as much as $500,000 for the second phase, according to Michelle Knight, director of community and economic development at the Lowcountry Council of Governments, which is administering the grant for Beaufort.