Work continues around the City of West Plains on the construction of new sidewalks and the repair of existing ones, which city officials hope leads to a safer, more mobile, and healthier community.
Since mid-July, Don Maggi Construction of Rolla, Mo. has been constructing nearly one mile of sidewalk on Porter Wagoner Boulevard, which is being funded mainly through a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
A new sidewalk is also being constructed on St. Louis Street by the West Plains Civic Center. That sidewalk, approximately 320 feet, is being built by Hessling Construction of Dexter, Mo. and funded through the City’s Transportation Tax.
Both new sidewalks were completed on Tuesday, October 16.
Hessling Construction is also repairing existing sidewalks around the city, with work focusing on those in need of the greatest repair in West Plains. Those include high-traffic areas on Grace Avenue, Jackson, Lincoln, and Thornburgh, and near the high school campus at the intersection of Olden and Howell Avenue. “All sidewalks are being constructed for compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), with the repaired sidewalks funded by the Capital Improvement Tax,” said Greg Stubbs of the City’s Planning Department.
A 2012 survey of West Plains’ residents ranked new sidewalks as the community’s number one priority, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sidewalks provide a number of community benefits. Chief among those is a reduction of pedestrian-vehicle incidents, with sidewalks cutting the number of those incidents in half. USDOT also states that sidewalks increase the “comfort” level for pedestrians, making them more likely to walk for recreational purposes. Recreational walking is one of the easiest and most recommended ways for people to meet the daily allotment of physical exercise needed for good health.
City Administrator Tom Stehn said citizens should expect sidewalk repair and construction to continue in the near future. “At this time we are focusing on the high-traffic areas, and the ones that need the most work,” said Stehn. “Our citizens have made it very clear that sidewalks are important to the community, and we are doing our best to meet those needs.”