HOLDINGFORD -- Two Central Minnesota schools are getting funding to help develop safer routes to school for students.

Holdingford and Eden Valley are two of 38 schools awarded 15 grants totaling $250,000 for Safe Route to School planning assistance from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Holdingford Mayor Sue Marstein says with the grant they will bring in a design team (Alta Planning and Design) to help develop and design the scope of the project.

"They are going to be working with us to pinpoint the ideas we have and turn them into a realistic and feasible project."

The Safe Route to School program aim to increase physical activity, improve health and reduce traffic congestion around schools and make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school.

The committee plans to meet next month to begin the design phase. Marstein says they would like to incorporate the Lake Wobegon Trail in their safe route designs.

"This way we're hoping to enable connecting places from the Lake Wobegon Trail to places like the school or downtown with safe workable paths or sidewalks everyone can use."

Once the designs are finalized the city will then apply for another grant for the construction portion of the project, which could begin the next few years.

Since 2005, MnDot has awarded nearly $20-million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School.