COLLEGE PLACE — A project for sidewalk improvements here received a big boost this week from the state Department of Commerce. 

College Place was awarded a $464,530 Community Development Block Grant, which could help leverage additional funds from other state, federal and local resources toward project costs, according to a release. 

“Partnering with local governments to create infrastructure is essential to our mission of strengthening communities,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown in a prepared statement. “The grants we are announcing today will result in cleaner water, safer streets, and ultimately, a higher quality of life in towns, cities and counties across Washington state.” 

The grant will go toward filling gaps in the sidewalks of the Historic Quarter of College Place at East Davis Avenue, Third Street to Whitman Drive, Fifth Street to Sixth Street, Seventh Street to 10th Street and North College Avenue to Bade Avenue.

College Place City Administrator Michael Rizzitiello said, “It was great that we were awarded this grant ... we compete with a bunch of other cities for the grant.”

And Walla Walla University has donated rights of way to the city for the construction, Rizzitiello said.

The state awarded more than $10.5 million to 25 rural cities and counties in Community Development Block Grants for 2019. Twenty-seven projects were selected from 41 grant applications requesting over $20 million. The projects awarded will improve water and sewer systems, streets, community facilities and fire protection systems, and also support affordable housing projects and community planning, according to the release.

The state CDBG program administered by the Department of Commerce receives an annual funding allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and targets assistance to benefit lower income communities in rural areas, the release stated.

The projects will begin in the summer of 2020, Rizzitiello said.