I wrote the newspaper today about the horrible sidewalks in this town. We'll see if anything happens. I am not celebrating just yet.
To the Meridian City Council:
I have lived in the Meridian area most of my life. About 6 years ago, I took up running as a hobby and a form of exercise. I usually run 6-8 miles at a time, several times a week. I am not at all fast, nor do I consider myself a competitive runner. I’ve always dreamed of running a marathon, but I can’t seem to find the motivation or willpower to endure the training in takes to complete one. In 2007, my husband and I lived in Charleston , South Carolina and fell in love with the city streets and bridges there. The city is perfect for pedestrians. I am returning to Charleston soon to participate in the annual Cooper River Bridge Run, one of the largest 10K road races in the Southeast. It’s a beautiful course that takes you over Charleston Harbor and into downtown.
I'm writing this letter because this city is in desperate need of help! We are NOT pedestrian friendly! While running the roads near my house, I'm constantly watching out for fear of falling or twisting something. The sidewalks in the city are absolutely HORRIBLE! I would love to see new and improved sidewalks along the main roads like 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 29th, 10th (near the golf course)avenues, etc. The sidewalks that exist are in desperate need of repair, especially along 23rd Avenue . There is a section of sidewalk near the American Red Cross that is made of brick on both sides of the road. Part of is overgrown with weeds and other parts are uneven with bricks missing or broken. This is the worst section for runners! I have twisted my ankles three times there. One section of sidewalk a few blocks from Andersons Hospital is so broken up; there are foot deep holes and gaps that get worse each time it rains. The sidewalk between 20th and 28th streets is nearly unusable, especially in front of Hope Village . Along 23rd Ave. , from 43rd street to MHS, there is no sidewalk at all. The other roads I’ve mentioned are just as bad or worse.
I would also like to suggest a marked 5k trail park. An excellent example is Spain Park , on Valleydale Road in Birmingham , AL . The trail goes in front of Spain Park High School , around a small pond and through a wooded area in between the High School and Jefferson State Community College . It also features a playground and dog area. Speaking for myself, I never go to Bonita Lakes because I can’t stand running in circles.
I know the economy is awful right now and money is tight, but if we can dedicate millions of dollars to another unnecessary hotel and an overpriced renovation of City Hall (which honestly, most local residents will hardly utilize), I think we should be able to spend several thousand to improve the sidewalks as an inexpensive attempt at making our city greener, healthier and more friendly to pedestrians.