Jonesboro schools benefit from "Safe Route to School" initiative

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Safety on the sidewalk. It's all in effort to provide kids with a safe route to school throughout Jonesboro. Valley View school officials say it's been a need at their school for some time.

"There's been more than close calls. We have students that have been hit by vehicles," said Valley View School Superintendent Radius Baker.

While there haven't been any serious injuries, Baker says sidewalks are needed. "On this bridge by the school, we have kids and cars crossing the bridge at the same time and that's very dangerous," said Baker.

With help from the city and grant money, the school recently began to build the frame work and pour the cement to install 33-hundred feet of sidewalk around the school.

"It is a life saver to some of these kids. Kids they think when they cross the road they are in a school zone, so everyone should be paying attention to them. Sometimes that's not the case," said Baker.

Jonesboro Mayor Perrin says it's all part of the "Safe Route to School" initiative through the Highway Department. Valley View is just a piece of the big picture. "We have basically four school districts involved in our grant that we sent in for. Last year we got the largest amount of funds in the state of Arkansas. We got about 195-thousand dollars," said Perrin.

Along with the sidewalk project at Valley View, the money will be used to add sidewalks to both Philadelphia and Nettleton School Districts, as well as additional signalization at Westside School District.

We talked to some parents, in route to pick their children, to get their feedback on the most recent project. Armin Antonio says he's for it. "The sidewalk will be good for the kids and it will keep them safe from being hit by all the cars and stuff. So, I'm in for that," said Antonio.

While Crysty Henry thinks it's a need at every school. "It's a safety measure for them. They need to have a place where they can walk and not have to worry about the cars or motorcycles around here getting to them," said Henry.

Mayor Perrin plans to have the sidewalks at valley view completed within the next few weeks. In the next thirty days, he hopes to land the contract for the remaining projects, which are scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.