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Project to fill gaps between unconnected sidewalks


Earnest Wilson, of Starkville, left, and Willie Gill, of Louisville, float concrete on a new sidewalk on Yellow Jacket Drive in Starkville Wednesday.

Earnest Wilson, of Starkville, left, and Willie Gill, of Louisville, float concrete on a new sidewalk on Yellow Jacket Drive in Starkville Wednesday. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff


By Devin Edgar and Carl Smith



As the 2016-2017 fiscal year nears its end, Starkville residents will begin to see the completion of sidewalk installations and improvements throughout the city.  


According to Edward Kemp, Starkville's city engineer, all funds from the $70,000 Sidewalk Improvement Project will be allocated to a specific project by Sept. 30, which is the last day of the current fiscal year.  


Kemp said the city took on as many projects that could be completed within the budget, which resulted in sidewalk improvements and installations at nine different locations, including Old West Point Road, an area on Long Street near the J.L. King Park Splash Pad, a small section on Old Montgomery Road and Yellow Jacket Drive.  


The project, which totals 20,000 linear feet of sidewalk installations, will connect many -- though not all -- of the gaps between sidewalks that are often seen in the city. It's the latest in eight years worth of sidewalk improvement projects, said Mayor Lynn Spruill. 


Although many of the sidewalk improvements are often seen as beautification projects, Mayor Lynn Spruill said they are being installed for one purpose -- the safety of Starkville residents.  


"It is more of a matter of safety and convenience, and fortunately, beautification comes as a second result. It makes things look better as well as offering those tangible benefits," Spruill said. "We are hoping to do more planning towards true beautification efforts, however, these sidewalks are intended to provide more safety within the community." 


Increasing quality of life 


Janice Ware said the newly installed infrastructure improvements along Yellow Jacket Drive will greatly benefit residents because of the improved safety it will provide those walking to school or using the paths for biking or running. 


Her home near the intersection of Nelson Street and Yellow Jacket Drive allows her to observe many safety issues in the area, and the lifelong Starkville resident said drivers routinely speed through the curvy thoroughfare. 


Ware has grandchildren in the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, and those students and others are routinely at her house after school lets out for the day. 


"I do believe that it's going to be beneficial for our children going to school. As narrow as this street is and the curves it has, it's beneficial to them and for us as a community. The sidewalk is perfect," she said. "I saw a car ... that went (off the road at a curve) the day before yesterday. Traffic in the morning is hectic, and it's football season right now. And for those (MSU student joggers), that's safety for them, too. They're part of us, even though Mississippi State has a different ZIP code."




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