Dozens took to the streets in Coachella Wednesday for a ground-breaking event in front of Valley View Elementary School.
Digging in for change, the event celebrated the beginning of construction. Starting in the Pueblo Nuevo area, the project includes 43,000 square feet of new sidewalks and 2,000 square feet of refurbished sidewalks.
“We’re promoting pedestrian-friendly pathways for children to get to and from school,” said the mayor of Coachella Eduardo Garcia.
Along with new sidewalks, the project will also add bike lanes and crosswalks, which Anita Gonzalez said are some things the neighborhood she’s lived in for 52 years has been lacking.
“I think it’s good, very good, because it keeps kids off the street. It’s very important because we have a lot of kids walking through here,” she said.
“With the lack of sidewalks, people are walking in the middle of the road. These are busy intersections,” said Garcia.
The city teamed up with the nationwide Safe Routes to School program as part of the city’s Community Development Block Grant sidewalk project, which is state and federally funded.
There’s more to it than safety — it’s about getting neighbors active.
“More importantly, promoting health and well-being. Making sure our children and families are more physically active. To address the health disparities that exist in communities like ours,” said Garcia.
The mayor said the project is expected to take about 90 days and more than $400,000 in grant money to complete.
Gonzalez said she’s eager to get out and move.
“I can take my afternoon walks on the sidewalk instead of on the street, which I normally do. So it’ll be safer for me,” she said.