GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The safer routes to school project on Ladnier Road in Gautier has been in the works for just about two years, but now the city is honing in on the final stages to actually get the work started. City leaders met with residents to get their feedback on the upcoming project.
The narrow and cracked sidewalks that line Ladnier Road will soon get a facelift thanks to $250,000 worth of grant money the city received from the high volume of students who walk to school.
"We've got the money in the bank. We've got the engineers already done, so now we opened up to get it done," said Councilman Hurley Ray Guillotte.
The purpose of the safe routes to school program is to encourage students to walk and bike to school. Councilman Guillotte said the improvements will also add curb ramps to make the sidewalks more accessible.
"You can imagine a kid riding a bicycle at night and all of a sudden the front end falls down four or five inches then they have a wreck. So, it's really going to make a big difference in our community," said Guillotte.
A public meeting was held at the city hall for residents who live in the college park area to voice their concerns and support for the proposed project.
"I've been waiting for 24 years for sidewalks to come to my area in Gautier, and I'm just happy to see that they are going to advance the sidewalks that we do have and repair the ones that are really messed up really bad," said Sheila Coleman.
While most residents were happy about the project, not everyone at the meeting was supportive of the idea that some new sidewalks are slated to be built where there wasn't one before.
"If they're two or three feet within my front yard because of a sidewalk, I'll be picking up garbage and whatever else right up to my front stoop," said one concerned resident.
City leaders said they will know for sure in the coming weeks exactly which streets will be getting brand new sidewalks. Councilman Guillote said they will open the project for bidding within the next month.