Prairie Grove Works To Better Connect School To Students

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PRAIRIE GROVE (KFSM)-- The city of Prairie Grove is finishing up a new sidewalk connecting the high school to subdivisions south of of Highway 62 Business before school starts on Tuesday.

This is just one part of the city's larger plan to provide better pedestrian access to the school buildings.

Larry Oelrich, the city's director of public works and administrative services said this is something they have been working on for a while.

He said they want to encourage kids to get out a little more.

“Keeping kids healthy, being able to walk to school, is much better than… we’ve become such a car oriented society that everybody wants to drive now a days," Oelrich said. "We’re trying to encourage kids to walk to school, so we’ve been trying to provide better access.”

He said there is still more in store for the project and once everything is complete, it will cost about $300,000

One of the subdivisions that will now be connected is Willow Creek.

Jessica Holmes is one of the residents there and has three kids that are students.

Only one though is old enough to use this new sidewalk by himself.

Holmes was excited when she first heard about it and it is something she said her 14 year old will probably use.

She is concerned about the fact there there is currently no crosswalk going across the highway.

“I feel like they should find some way to make it a little safer because kids obviously are going to be crossing there because of the way the sidewalk goes," Holmes said. "This road, I mean we live right next door, there’s just constant traffic. It is dangerous.”

Oelrich said once the sidewalk is complete, the highway department has to assess whether or not a crosswalk is needed.

He is confident that they will find it necessary and one will be added in the future.

This new sidewalk runs through a piece of land purchased by the school about a year ago.

Assistant Superintendent David Kellogg said they are excited that the city wanted to get this done.

The school district is also working to make the safer passages between buildings for their students.

Kellogg said there are many students who walk everyday, either by themselves or with a parent.

They received a grant from the highway department so they can add more sidewalks from the middle school to the elementary.

“We have sidewalks running roughly halfway between the two and this will complete it," Kellogg said. "For those in Prairie Grove familiar there will be a new sidewalk someday around the football practice field, basically around the bus shop.”

He explained they are still waiting on the highway department before they can start pouring the new walkway.