A safe route to school is in the works for students at Crestview Elementary on North Holmes.
The $500,000 project will provide a safe walking route from the school to the Crestview neighborhood.
The North Kansas City School District elementary school was constructed in 1954. Currently, the sidewalk near the school has gaps that require children to walk in the street and cross the street multiple times to get from the Crestview neighborhood to the school.
Fourth District Councilwoman Jolie Justice said the project is in the design phase, but construction crews will likely be on the ground in 2017. The project may only include a couple of blocks of sidewalk along Holmes, but the goal is to create a continuous access for walkers. The plan will include gutters, storm drains and curbs.
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“I heard from the principal and other neighborhood leaders that it was a dangerous corridor,” Justice said. “I went on a walking tour and had a chance to see how dangerous it was, how fast the traffic was on Holmes and that it was an area that had not seen infrastructure improvements in a very long time.”
Justice sees an added benefit for seniors who live nearby in an apartment complex. The sidewalks will provide access for people with limited mobility. The $500,000 for the project will come from Public Improvements Advisory Committee money left over from 2016. That money was originally slated for a North Oak Trafficway streetscape plan that has not yet been developed.
The project is one of two school sidewalk projects Northland Neighborhoods CEO Deb Hermann says have been on their wish-list for a while. The other one is Briarcliff School. Hermann says the needs around Crestview are more urgent than at Briarcliff.
“It’s something that’s been needed for probably 50 years,” Hermann said. “That’s an old school, and the roadways are narrow with deep ditches. It’s been an issue for the schools and the neighborhood for a long time.”
Northland Neighborhoods has also been working with the Kansas City Parks Department on a project to re-open the pool at an old YMCA on Vivion Road. The city now owns the property and Hermann explains the outdoor pool could be open as early as 2018.
“There’s never been a pool in the first district of Kansas City, not a public pool. The YMCA had served that purpose for a long time, and is sorely missed,” Hermann said.
The YMCA closed in December of 2014.