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11-year-old petitions Shawnee city leaders for sidewalks near Erfurt Park

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- An 11-year-old is behind a petition that's up for discussion by Shawnee city leaders.

Ryann Doyle, 11, says she wants a safe way to ride her electric scooter to Erfurt Park on 71st Street. She's motivating her community to make that a reality. Doyle says she needed to make her voice heard. When she complained to her family, they told her to take it to the city.

"You can't just sit there. You have go out and do something," Doyle told FOX 4 News.

Doyle complained that she and other children don't feel safe, since the stretch of 71st Street near the park doesn't have sidewalks. The park entrance has a ditch on one side, and a grassy area on the other.

The sixth-grader took public process into her own hands. A member of Shawnee's city government advised the Doyle family to pass a petition asking the city council to build sidewalks near the park. Doyle collected 54 signatures on the petition.

"There are cars going really fast. It was really scary. It looked like I could run out accidentally in front of those cars," Doyle said.

Doyle and her family never imagined she'd be speaking before a city council meeting on Tuesday night, asking municipal leaders for safe sidewalks in person.

"I know what you're thinking. She's only 11. What can she do?" Doyle asked the council.

"I was most proud of how she handled herself in front of a big group of people. There are many adults who wouldn't have the courage to stand up there," Megan Doyle, Ryann's mother, said.

Her presentation on Tuesday didn't fall on silent ears. Carol Gonzales, Shawnee City Manager, was present while Ryann spoke. She says city leaders worked closely with the Doyle family to compose the petition, and they're considering the 11-year-old's request.

"It was great to see her be proactive," Gonzales said. "It's an issue that's been discussed before. We have some background. When people come and ask, we're here to serve the public."

"People love this park. I don't want people to not come," Ryann Doyle said.

And now, it's a matter of the money. Gonzales told FOX 4 News city leaders like the idea, but it all depends on potential growth around the 71st area and making space for the sidewalks.

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