Sidewalk Improvements Planned to Help Disabled Community

By Chris Eidson

Published 03/30 2014 09:39PM

Updated 03/30 2014 10:33PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Sidewalks are a lifeline for those in wheelchairs, but oftentimes they're in disrepair or simply don't exist along main roads.

"There are a lot of areas that sidewalks are spotty," Roy Collins said.

"Sometimes you have a sidewalk, sometimes you don't," William Stork said.

Collins and Stork showed us, with their wheelchairs, why broken stretches of sidewalk can be hard to travel and even dangerous.

"We just want people with disabilities to have equal access like everyone else," Southwest Center for Independent Living Access Coordinator Shelby Butler said.

She's happy about a new city and MoDOT plan to build and repair nearly three miles of sidewalks on Glenstone and Sunshine.

Springfield City Council approved the bill last week.

"Anytime there is some kind of collaboration or partnership to improve access in our community for people with disabilities it's a good thing," she said.

All three believe improving sidewalks will help the whole community.

"We have a lot of people with disabilities out there," Stork said, "Allow them to have access to the business, my gosh, the businesses would do nothing but benefit."

"I know that with the improvements it's going to be more accessible to people, not only with disabilities, but other people that are going to see that these improvements help them get around in the city," Collins said.

They believe there is much more work to be done to improve access in Springfield.

They hope these three miles are just the beginning.

High cost is often a barrier for the city to make the needed improvements.

This project is expected to cost about 700,000 dollars.

It's a cost share agreement with MoDOT, so they will help foot the bill.

No word yet on a date for construction.

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