Students walking from Ballard Middle School to Ballard High School may find it an easier go if a proposal submitted by four students to the Huxley City Council becomes a reality.
The students, Caleb Hyman, Seth Hilleman, Greysen Ehresman, and Greyson Inglett, each read portions of a prepared statement to the council, and displayed a LEGO model that portrayed a three-dimensional example of their idea during the council’s meeting on Nov. 12.
“There is a gap in the sidewalks between the middle school and the high school,” said the students, all members of the Huxley LEGO League team. “There is only a short bit of sidewalk along North Fifth Avenue that runs behind the football field to the gate, however the gate to the field is almost always closed. There can be a lot of traffic along this area (especially before and after school) with younger drivers that presents a danger for kids trying to get between the schools as they either have to walk in the ditch or on the road.”
The idea came about as part of the club’s responsibility to do a community project. The young men said that they had considered several ideas and settled on this one because of the practicality and high usage potential of such a sidewalk. They even presented cost estimates to council.
“We looked online and looked up the cost estimates for sidewalks, and it looks like it would potentially run $25,000 to 50,000 to put in the sidewalk,” the boys said.
Councilman Dave Jensen said there is money in the budget for sidewalks and that the city understands the importance for safe transportation, and that council would like to participate, with assistance from the school.
Mayor Craig Henry commended the students for their research and presentation.
“I think it’s really good, gentlemen,” Henry said. “You did a really good job. We’ve been talking to the school about this same idea. Your timing is perfect. We are all interested in better sidewalks and better safety.”
The council encouraged the students to make the same presentation to the Ballard School Board and said the city would discuss their recommendation further.
Sidewalks and the expansion of city trails have been large topics of council work sessions this year as the city works on short term and long term plans to upgrade Huxley’s trail system.