by Fransetta Crow
It was 5 years ago in 2005, that the first grant application was submitted for sidewalks for North Hughes Street to the Community Development Block Grant Committee of the City of Amarillo. It was the beginning of a vision I had and still do have from 2005 when the North Amarillo Community Task Force was appointed by Mayor Debra McCartt. I wrote and presented a poem to our Mayor asking her to help clean up our community at a community meeting held at the United Citizens Forum. My vision is to improve my community and the infrastructure of my neighborhood and make Hughes Street a SAFE USER FRIENDLY Street for the pedestrians that have to utilize it everyday .” Changing our streets is an issue that touches on livability in a community for everyone “, says Dan Burden, the founder of walkable Communities for everyone in the 2007 AARP Bulletin.
The effort of a few concerned and determined community active residents worked together and put together their time and skills to apply for funding , thru a grant from the Community Development Block Grant and the City of Amarillo. Those Involved were : Fransetta Crow, Diana King Smith, Dwight Cowens and other volunteers . Because of our efforts, the main Thurfare in NortHeights Amarillo will finally get sidewalks and handicap accessible ramps to allow disabled people to travel in a safe manner along with many other people that live in the community. This project began today and the construction company has already demonstrated that they are not intendending to improve our community but intend to PIECE MILL the sidewalks and not make it uniformed and in order and compliance with government standards. Not only is this an insult to the NorthHeights residents and tax payers, but a violation of the use of Federal Dollars.
We have waited for over 80 years to get sidewalks for the first time while many parts of the city not only have uniformed sidewalks in their community but paved alleys as well . Now that we finally qualify to get sidewalks, the City has approved the half hearted botching and throwing together a poorly planned project that will not improve the appearance of our community, and will also have to be readdressed in the future if not done right. WE WANT OUR SIDEWALKS TO BE AN IMPROVEMENT NOT A PIECE MILLED JOKE. We need to call the city leaders and complain about this unprofessional mess that has been approved . In the Independent Newspaper last week there is an article that talks about the Revitalization of Downtown Amarillo, and sidewalks are part of the plan. I am sure that they won’t patch up and piece mill the sidewalks while using part of our tax dollar. Something needs to be said,and the community needs to protest the intentions of the City of Amarillo and the Construction Co. that has contracted to half do a job that is long, long, long over do.
” When people walk out their doors, their streets should give them the option to walk, drive, ride a bus or ride a bike “, says Bill Wilkings , executive director of the National Center for Bicyling and Walking. Commitment to pedestrian safety is part of a project known as COMPLETE STREETS. There was a bill in 2007 in the Senate that require any road project using federal funds to meet complete standards. It is also a violation of federal and State equal access disability laws, for failing to maintain and upgrade pedestrian walkways. Improving the infrastructure of a low Income neighborhood by installing sidewalks is not only good for the disabled, Senior citizens, individuals, but the community as a whole.
If you would like more information on the sidewalks contact the Engineering Department at City of Amarillo, Issac Rangel (806) 378-9334 or the Contractor (806) 371-728.
For more information on Complete Streets: www.COMPLETESTREETS.ORG
I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN APART OF A PROJECT THAT WILL BE ANOTHER POSITIVE IMPROVEMENT FOR THE NORTHEIGHTS Community and North Amarillo. However there is rumor that there are some people that don’t feel that sidewalks are needed on North Hughes and is a waste of money. Well my reply to them is: “It might not be important to you, but it is to those who use it every day and put themselves in harmsway .” If you don’t live in a community I don’t feel you should have a voice or power to make decisions that affect other tax payers livelihoods. We as Black people should be aware of those that are suppose to be representing us, and or assigned or voted for to render a service for those that voted for them. Black Amarillo we need to wake up!!!
If you don’t feel sidewalks are needed on NORTH HUGHES, write me and comment on what you think. If you Want to comment on the City approving the poor construction of the sidewalks in our community and think it’s wrong speak up now we want you to stand up with us and fight for the right thing. The next Project is to get The DEAD TREES REMOVED FROM OUR COMMUNITY. I hope it won’t take 5 more years, maybe the City of Amarillo will apply some of that Stimulus Money to accomplish that problem also.
Goodbye for Now!