The biggest grant ever applied for and ever secured came through via an email to Camrine Thompson, Jay city clerk, on Monday, March 4, while the city offices were closed due to weather.

“At first glance, I thought it wasn’t real, until I could verify it” said Thompson. “Once I realized it was a fact, it felt like Christmas day."

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation granted two awards of $316,000 and $235,262, totaling $551,262 for installation of sidewalks along Highway 10/59 and along Monroe Street.

The total project came in at $697,262 and Jay needs to provide matching funds of 21 percent of the total request or $146,000.

A total of 21 grants totaling $7,450,367.71 were awarded by ODOT and Jay secured two of the 21 grants, the only Delaware County recipient.

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) “provides federal funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, community improvement activities, safe routes to school projects and other related activities.”

The first grant of $316,000 is for installation of ADA compliant sidewalks to connect Delaware County Courthouse to South Sixth Street via Highway 10/59.

The second grant of $235,262 is for ADA compliant sidewalks to connect the Jay Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School properties from Highway 10/59 down Monroe to the city park.

Along these byways, people and students are forced to walk in the street or in the ditch.

Additionally, the city will replace some existing intersection curbs with ADA compliant non-slip ramping on existing sidewalks between the high school and the football field.

The process began in June 2017 and finally ready to be submitted in November 2018.

The City of Jay staff normally has a grant company do its grants, but two of its staff were connected to ODOT and therefore, disqualified to prepare the grant application.

So Thompson stepped into the gap and put together what turned out to be a 32 page application.

She said thanks go to Melissa Cunningham, Rhonda Cunningham and Nancy Robins, the TSET (Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust) Healthy Living Program team who did the “Bikeability and Walkability" study for the application.

They also took the pictures included for the application and did mapping to illustrate the needs.

Additionally, letters of support from Josh West, Harley Buzzard and Larry Shackleford were added to the application.

Now that the grants have been awarded, the advertising for bids begins and ODOT controls the bid process.

The engineering firm of Holloway, Updike and Bellen of Muskogee are already in place as they did the needed cost estimates for the application.

Hopefully, Thompson will hear within 30 days on how and when funds will distributed, the bid process and the construction deadlines to be met.

“We’re ready to launch whenever they are and we hope to begin construction by summer," Thompson said.

This was the first major grant application Thompson handled by herself and by far the largest ever secured.

She has secured 10 grants as city clerk, with the largest previously being $37,000.

Jay officials can apply for this specific grant every three years.