KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Waldo residents might notice some new sidewalks looking more like the rubberized track around a football field.

It’s all part of an effort to make the sidewalks last long in places where concrete sidewalks have struggled.

“This is a growing neighborhood and new sidewalks are really important,” said Cherie West on her front porch.

But just across the street, cracked sidewalks are an issue in West’s Waldo’s neighborhood. In 2021, Kansas City tried out a few different types of concrete mixtures and even rubber to solve a problem Mayor Quinton Lucas says isn’t new.

“It made a lot of sense to try [different sidewalk materials] because we’ve seen the same problem for years if not generations,” Lucas said.

Now, the pilot program has led to permanent options for city crews. The rubberized surface is especially helpful in places like Waldo where big trees have big roots that can create big problems for traditional concrete walkways. The rubber has enough give to it to allow the tree to keep growing.

“It’s allowing the tree to grow, its allowing people to have a safe space, and frankly, it’s allowing better accessibility long term,” Lucas said.

A study suggests that the rubber sidewalks can be slightly more expensive, but Lucas points out they could prevent costs associated with removing or caring for trees that are harmed by more rigid sidewalk materials.

“To be able to walk on the sidewalk up to the corner will be nice because we’re always in the street because the sidewalks were so broken,” West said.