The City of Baxter will explore possible funding avenues to create sidewalks near the Upperman campuses.
Parent Kim Phann brought the issue to the attention of the Board of Aldermen Thursday night. She said she’s concerned about the safety of students who walk to school.
“Every morning I see kids walking down Highway 70 and through the Crossroads and through the construction, every morning and every evening to and from school,” Phann said. “I’ve contacted the school board as well as the principals at both Upperman Middle and Upperman High School. Everybody recognizes the need for sidewalks.”
Phann said the school system directed her to bring it before the city.
Mayor John Martin said one issue is that area is county property and the road is a state highway. Alderman Dustin Stanton said that means the scope of the project is much different than if it was a street in downtown Baxter.
City Attorney Shawn Fry said this might be an issue the city can explore as it goes through to update its policies to include sidewalks in building restrictions.
“With Baxter’s growth, quite honestly, a lot of these issues weren’t issues a couple of years ago but now they are,” Fry said. “One of the things we’re going to be looking at soon is reviewing all of our policies and maybe updating our restrictions on building because we’ve got so much building going on. So your bringing this up is a good thing because this is something we’re going to need to consider.”
Because he recognizes the need to help enhance children’s safety, especially amidst the growth in Baxter, Martin said he plans to pursue possible grants or other funding avenues to try and make the project a reality.