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Vienna makes strides in use of trust funds to expand sidewalk network

The sidewalk on Plum Street SW from Cottage Street to Tapawingo Road is one of the completed Robinson Trust projects (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Town of Vienna has now committed about a third of the $7 million bequeathed by late councilmember Maud Robinson for building sidewalks to specific projects.

As of Aug. 2, the town has allocated approximately $2.3 million from the Robinson Charitable Trust based on open purchase orders, per Vienna’s finance department. The funds can be used to engineer, design and construct sidewalks in areas with existing curb and gutter.

“Of this amount, approximately $997,000 has been billed and reimbursed to the Town from the Trust,” the town told FFXnow.

Vienna has pursued 28 projects so far, seven of which have been completed. Others are currently being studied or designed, and despite some pushback from residents, one is set to begin construction this week: a 1,500-foot path on Alma Street SE.

When it met on July 11, the town council also approved funding to build a sidewalk on Blackstone Terrace NW and initiate design work on four other projects.

According to Robert Froh, an engineer for the town’s Department of Public Works, construction has finished on 10 additional, small projects that received trust funding.

“These projects are along the frontage of one or several properties where there may be existing sidewalk on the sides of these ‘missing link’ project locations,” Froh said by email.

The Robinson Trust was established in early 2020 with a gift from the late councilmember, who died in March 2019. Projected to cover 3.3 miles of sidewalks, the money is intended to support projects that weren’t already planned or funded.

The current $2.3 million commitment represents a notable step forward from where Vienna was in the spring of 2021. At that point, just four projects had been approved, as the town struggled to win support from property owners.

However, with the halfway point looming, the town needs to pick up the pace even more in order to meet the October 2024 deadline set by the trust.

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