Kansas City, Kan. -- Wyandotte County says it wants to build a better and healthier community, one sidewalk at a time. The county is showing off its plan for a better sidewalk and trail network and hoping to get neighbors ideas too.
In a recent survey, between 85-90 percent of citizens said that parks, trails and sidewalks were very or somewhat important to them. It's about more than just aesthetics, the county says it's an issue of health and safety.
But community leader Marty Thoennes says it's also about livability. He says in the neighborhood meetings he goes to, people talk less about crime and trash, and more about neighborhood improvements.
"We have to keep our neighborhoods desirable," Thoennes says, "not just livable but desirable. We want people to come to our neighbors and say 'I can walk this neighborhood and push a stroller in this neighborhood and ride my bike in this neighborhood.'"
Rob Richardson, Director of Wyandotte County's Planning Department, says this is a priority because the citizens say it's important to them. But he says it's also about tackling Wyandotte County's consistently low rankings in the state when it comes to good health.
"It's hard to be healthy if you can't walk and ride your bike," Richardson says, "it's one of the basic things you need to be healthy."
It's about health and safety. Two years ago, a nine-year-old girl was killed when a school bus hit her near 66th and Leavenworth Road. Neighbors blamed the lack of sidewalks or curbs because the kids had to wait for the bus in the street.
Wyandotte County says it's hearing what the people want, they just need the funding to make it happen. But when the funding is available, they already have a plan in place to jump into action.
If you want to offer your suggestions and comments to county officials, there are several more meetings coming up:
April 23rd 4pm-6pm
KCK Community College -- Lower Level of Jewell Building
April 24th 4pm-6pm
Argentine Community Center 2810 Metropolitan Ave
April 26 4pm-6pm
Cabela's -- 10300 Cabela Drive (The Legends)