Illinois District Receives State Grant to Improve Sidewalk Safety
The West Prairie school district in Colchester, Ill., has received a grant through the Safe Routes for School Program to improve the sidewalks students use to walk to school.
- By Jessica Davis
- April 26, 2019
The sidewalks students use to walk to South Elementary School in Colchester, Ill., every day are falling apart and are unconnected around town, posing a safety risk for students who walk to school. The West Prairie School District aims to improve these sidewalks using a grant it received from the Safe Routes for School Program.
The sidewalks around South Elementary are in a state of disrepair, and in some places there isn’t much sidewalk to walk on, so students walk down the street, according to Sheri Beck.
“Kids, they walk down the street because there’s no place for them to walk otherwise,” Beck said. “There’s just not enough sidewalks.”
The district plans to use the $200,000 grant it received from IDOT’s Safe Routes to School program to make the sidewalks safer for students on their commute to school, Superintendent Carol Kilver said.
“A lot of the sidewalk work is original to the city, so we’re not only looking at widening, but also repair, making it safe for people to travel to and from our schools every day,” Kilver said.
According to Kilver, the new sidewalks will accommodate those with disabilities. There are also plans to connect the sidewalk that currently runs from the middle school to the elementary school, since students travel on it every day.
City Engineer Doug Erickson said the sidewalks along Roberts Street are some of the ones being redone as part of efforts to eventually fix all the connecting sidewalks in town.
“They want to continue and finish this stretch through the elementary school and middle school and then start connecting neighborhoods with some of this money, too,” Erickson said.
Erickson said the plans include connecting the school to the local park via sidewalks.
“It’s great,” Beck said. “The kids won’t be walking in the streets; they’ll be safer cause they’ll be walking on the sidewalk. That’s the biggest thing.”
Erickson said they plan to get bids out in the fall and hope to finish the sidewalk improvement project by the time school starts.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.