Fort Wayne sidewalk project connects elementary school to neighborhoods

Walking will be less of a headache for those who live and go to school near St. Joe Center Road, now that a new sidewalk was put in place making it safer.

Posted: Sep 25, 2019 7:22 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:05 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — There were plenty of mornings Principal William Critell worried about the safety of his students at St. Joseph Central Elementary School.

"It's a little darker in the morning and cars don't always see kids," he said.

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He said there was too much j-walking going on.

People who live in the area also had a difficult time getting to where they need to go.

"People had to walk through the addition, back behind the school, up and around the school property to get to the businesses or just walk through the ditches and culverts they've replaced with a sidewalk," Jeff Baueirmeister said.

They say the new sidewalk off of St. Joseph Center Road in front of the school is not only helpful to the eight other connecting neighborhoods between Maplecrest and Hazlett Road, but to the students.

The Director of Public Works, Shan Gunawardena, said safety was top priority.

"When we first prioritized the sidewalk needs, we worked with Fort Wayne Community Schools and we identified all the areas with a lack of sidewalk infrastructure that eliminated bus transportation," he explained.

This year more than $3.5 million is being invested in sidewalk construction.

"I think that speaks highly of both groups and the community of how much value they put in their kids and families," William Critell added.

The city constructed more than 21 miles of new sidewalk in the last four years.

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