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Sidewalk urged for pupils

The walk to and from Lynch Elementary School is dangerous for some pupils, say parents and neighbors.

Lack of a sidewalk means that students who walk to and from the Willis S. Johns Neighborhood Center, 6635 M. L. King (Ninth) St. N, have to dodge traffic.

Lynch Principal Kathleen Proper said that as many as 100 pupils walk between the school and the recreation center, where before-school and after-school care is offered.

"It's a safety issue," said C.

H. "Bo" Mullins, president of the Fossil Park Neighborhood Association, which is pushing for sidewalks for the area.

Council member Beatrice Griswold plans to propose at the City Council meeting Thursday that St. Petersburg build a sidewalk along 70th Avenue N from M. L. King (Ninth) to 16th streets N.

Griswold said city engineers would decide which side of the street to build the sidewalk on.

"Ideally, it would be nice to have a sidewalk on both sides of the street," Griswold said.

The need for a sidewalk became an issue in October when members of the Fossil Park Neighborhood Association decided to pursue it, Mullins said.

Several members of the group have children who attend the before- and after-school care program at the neighborhood center and are escorted to and from the school, 1901 71st Ave. N, Mullins said. When walking along 70th Avenue, he said, the children either have to walk along private yards or the street.

So the group asked the city for a sidewalk.

Griswold said she has watched about 50 children walk to school from the neighborhood center and, although they are escorted, she thinks it is dangerous for them to walk down that street.

The Meadowlawn Neighborhood Association, which represents people who live where the sidewalk would be built, also has endorsed the plan because of the safety aspects, said the group's president, Jack Pisecco.

There has been some dispute about whether the Meadowlawn homeowners along the route would be assessed for the sidewalk, Mullins said.

Griswold said she does not think those homeowners should be charged for a sidewalk that will benefit children from all over the city who attend Lynch.

So she plans to ask that the city foot the entire bill for the estimated $26,000 sidewalk.