Walking in Meridian is becoming even safer. It's thanks to a grant that's providing for the installation of sidewalks in some parts of the city where they are most needed. Work is currently being done in the area around T.J. Harris Elementary. Many residents who live within that area, and city leaders say this work is long overdue.
"We need'em really bad," says Ceasia Hill. Several times a week she walks from the area near T.J. Harris school to the Oakland Heights area. During that time she says there are often school age children either walking in the road, or very close to it.
"They do it all the time," says Hill. "A bunch of little kids, who are younger than my little sister, probably about 9 and 8. They're young."
The new sidewalks are being installed as part of a 2008 Safe Schools Grant that's valued at $700,000.
"The bottom line is safety," says Hugh Smith, who is the Public Works Director for the City of Meridian. "It's about safety for the kids to give them an avenue of access to and from home to the schools. So, it's all about safety."
Aside from safety, the sidewalks will also provide some convenience. For example, a pedestrian bridge that connects Terry Road to the T.J. Harris Elementary School campus is set to be built. It will cross over Sowashee Creek. Not only will it make the walk safer for the students who have to walk to school, but also it will reduce the amount of time that it takes many of those students to get there.
So far, officials with the public works department estimate that about 35% of the scheduled sidewalk installation work is finished. Meanwhile, as for some who live within the area like Ceasia Hill, the completion of the work can't come soon enough.
"Like for safety it's going to be so good. With all of the accidents that have happened on the streets, we won't have to worry about nobody getting hit," says Hill.