Construction begins on new sidewalks near Turner Elementary School

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Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The students of Turner Elementary will be able to enjoy a new sidewalk this upcoming year, which city officials are hoping will help when it comes to safety.

Ward 1 City Commissioner Jon Howard says this area was chosen specifically because it is in a school zone.

“What you’re seeing behind us today is the contractor that has been approved to do the sidewalks from School Street down to Turner Field Road,” Howard said. “And it’s certainly going to have a huge impact on the students that walk to school.”

He says there are many students who walk to and from the elementary school.

Pictures from the construction site.
Pictures from the construction site.(WALB)

“It’ll certainly be a step in the right direction because anytime in the morning or in the afternoon, you see several dozen students walking to school,” he said. “A sidewalk certainly will be for safety and protection from vehicles on the road and the kids will not have to walk in the middle of the road.”

Lavenice Grace is the principal of Turner Elementary School. He says the idea for the sidewalks was a collaborative effort.

“I think a lot of the citizens and the neighborhood community people had gotten into contact with some of the commissioners about the sidewalks and about the kids who are walking to and from here and their safety here at the school and going home,” Grace said.

Lavenice Grace is the Principal of Turner Elementary School.
Lavenice Grace is the Principal of Turner Elementary School.(WALB)

He adds that this is not the only thing that will encourage people to slow down and take precautions when driving around children.

“I think with the school zones- the flashing lights that we do have and the signs, I do think that that will allow people to slow down for the safety of kids. Especially because school is about to get started again,” he said.

Commissioner Howard tells me the sidewalk is projected to be finished sometime at the end of August, just in time for the start of the school year. And that the city has plans for even more developments.

“As we speak, they’re putting some on Magnolia Street on the west side of Albany. And then there’s going to be another street in the old Doublegate area on Dawson Road,” he said. “So once they get through with this, they’ll probably move over to the west side and do those sidewalks as well.”

But Howard says the city can’t afford to build as many sidewalks as it needs right now.

Jon Howard is the City Commissioner for Ward 1in East Albany.
Jon Howard is the City Commissioner for Ward 1in East Albany.(WALB)

“Because of the shortage of budget and the tax digest is not growing, so we probably have to curtail some of these sidewalks that’s going in in the near future,” he said.

This is just one of the many hurdles Commissioner Howard says the city is trying to get through.

“What we have to convince our senior citizens and residents is that putting sidewalks is just only for the aesthetic of the community. And what we’ve tried to do in the last several years is that where there’s a school, we try to our sidewalks there so kids will be safe to walk to and from school,” he said.

Howard tells me he believes that adding things like sidewalks and speed bumps in other areas will add to the aesthetic and well-being of the community.

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