PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - About a year ago we told you of a plan in Paragould to set money aside to rebuild many city sidewalks. Now the work is underway.
Michael McBride and his crew being supervised by Paragould City Engineer H Reynolds are making the finishing touches before pouring cement. McBride says the heat is really the controlling factor on this job.
"It's so hot we can't work but six or 7 hours a day. We only pour about 200 - 250 feet a day where we could be pouring up to 400 if it wasn't so hot."
McBride said they are having to tear up about three quarters of the old sidewalk and keep remaining part. He says it takes about a week to do a block.
This Friday morning they were getting ready to pour a 4 inch thick 100 foot long overlay. Covering over an old sidewalk and fixing a drainage problem.
Home owner Danny Johnson has lived with a bad sidewalk and a large draining problem for years. He stood outside his home and showed where the water came from.
"Holding water and the water coming off the hill and coming down through there and piling on up."
Every time it rains Johnson said it forms a large pool right in front of his home. Hopefully this new sidewalk will fix that problem.
City Engineer H Reynolds walked the streets to determine where the repairs were needed the most. They wanted to start small to get the most bang for their bucks and try out some new ideas.
"We're gonna be doing some things, such as this overlay like your seeing right here that hasn't been done around the country."
The load of cement on a Razorback Cement truck rolled in and the wet mix began to ooze off the truck.
Foot by foot the concrete was poured. And spread, and smoothed, as the sidewalk was prepared to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I picked up what appeared to be a flat giant Lego block. You see these yellow blocks on just about every street corner. But you may not understand they serve a real valuable purpose besides just traction.
They are used by the blind who use a cane. H Reynolds explained the principal to me.
"Put that in the direction he wants to go and that way they line it up and they go strait across from that."
Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill dropped by for a look. He told me that with only 250 thousand allocated a year, the city funds already being set aside, the sidewalk project could stretch out a bit.
"We're off to a good start this year and we'll probably spend all that money this year but when you look around you can see a difference has been made."
I walked up to the block above where they were looking and saw the newly re-done sidewalks stretching down the hill. Just last year I had stood in the same spot on a pile of cracked and heaved up sidewalk.
So far progress has been good and H says they are getting ready for the next phase.
"We're getting ready to advertise this Sunday in the paper and next Sunday for the next bid and we'll open bids on August the 10th.Hopefully we'll be ready to work right after Labor Day for the rest of this over here. Which will get Court, and Poplar Street."
After those streets are done they will re-do the Avenues from 412 to Lake Street.
Plenty of work left to do...but then these sidewalks have been around for a hundred years. What's a few more months.