Editorial: A good start for sidewalks

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Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Alisa Corey

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Dave Pike

— Community representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

A project to install sidewalks in and around existing neighborhoods near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School is a good first step in improving the city’s sidewalk system, providing enhanced access and safety for pedestrians and students. The editorial board hopes property owners are reasonable in providing right-of-ways so this worthwhile project can move forward, as it should.

A story on the education page in the Saturday Morning Press, “Where sidewalks begin,” caught the attention Monday of editorial board members, and for good reason.

The story outlined a proposed City of Craig project to install sidewalks in and around existing neighborhoods near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School.

Sidewalks, as it’s been noted in this opinion space numerous times over the years, are a recurring issue of concern for not only editorial board members, but also many people in the community.

A $188,905 Safe Routes to School grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation will pay for the design, engineering and construction of the sidewalk project.

But before construction can begin, there’s a potential hitch: city officials must work through right-of-way issues with property owners affected by the project.

Gaining right-of-way access can be a contentious issue at times, and there have been occasions when property owners unwilling to relent even a bit have caused projects benefiting the public to come to a halt.

That doesn’t need to happen with this proposed project. That shouldn’t happen with this project.

The editorial board encourages property owners to be reasonable when dealing with city officials attempting to gain access so the sidewalk project can move forward.

The board isn’t telling property owners what to do with their land, certainly, but we respectfully ask they keep in mind how important sidewalks are around our schools, and how necessary better sidewalks are in limiting safety concerns for students and pedestrians alike.

The sidewalk project in north Craig is not only an immediate remedy to concerns in that area, but it’s also a positive first step in improving the city’s system overall.

Sidewalks have long been identified as an area of concern, but it’s simply too expensive to completely overhaul and improve the entire system in a short timeframe.

The better and more realistic solution is doing designated sections of need each year, and hoping the process adds up to big changes over time.

The editorial board contends this project is a great starting point.

We’d hate to see improvements to our community, and ones funded by outside dollars at that, possibly delayed or shelved altogether because some simple compromises couldn’t be reached.

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