This week I drove by the four USD 250 elementary schools in a single day. My son attends one of them and I attended a ground breaking at another. I was drawn to yet another because of an economic development opportunity I was researching. Although I was aware that each school is constructing a safe room, seeing the progress in person made a significant impact on me. Each elementary school was in some phase of construction. George Nettles looks nearly finished from the outside, while Lakeside was just getting started and the Pittsburg Community Middle School safe room will start in the next couple of weeks.
To complement this safety initiative, the City is busy expanding roads and walkways. In front of Pittsburg High School on Fourth Street, the City is working with Crawford County, the Kansas Department of Transportation and USD 250 to add an additional entrance to the parking lot, which will allow for a traffic signal at the Free Kings intersection. These improvements will ease traffic congestion and make pedestrians safer.
In June, contractors will begin utilizing funds from the national Safe Routes to School program to build walkways and provide safer pedestrian access to our schools. The project includes a sidewalk along Homer Street from Centennial to George Nettels, a sidewalk along Broadway from 14th Street south to Larry Garmin Avenue, which feeds the middle school, and two more sidewalks from two separate locations along the Watco Trail, on Miles and 5th Street, which go to Westside. We also have a nearly mile-long, ten-foot-wide multi-purpose trail under construction from the south city limit to Centennial. This pathway will connect through Centennial, to the Homer Street Safe Routes to School project, allowing students and their parents a safe, uninterrupted walk from the hundreds of houses that feed George Nettels from the south.
With partners like USD 250, Safe Routes to Schools, the County, and the State of Kansas we continue to improve the quality of life and safety for our citizens and their children. The City and our schools have always invested in improvements aimed at safety and quality of life. If you drive around town today, you will notice a lot of construction going on. If you pay close attention, you will see many of these projects have a significant safety aspect to them. These efforts show our commitment to investing in our most precious asset – our children.