By BRAD ROLLINS
Furmin Alonzo will probably never use the sidewalk he could see workers building on Wednesday through the living room window of his Staples Road home.
The elderly man can’t walk, he said, but he sees plenty from his worn La-Z-Boy.
“Many kids walk down there to school. Many adults walk there to the store or wherever. Now they won’t have to get mud on their shoes when it’s raining,” Alonzo said.
Nor will students walking to two nearby schools have to risk the steady traffic zipping along the curves near where Staples Road, also Texas 621, intersects Texas 123. Just across the road from the working-class, heavily Latino Wallace Addition, Bowie Elementary is moved to its new campus and the old high school is vacant. But Hernandez Intermediate is just down the road and the former high school is scheduled to reopen next year as the middle school.
On Wednesday, workers for Manley Contracting poured the last segment of the 1,400-foot sidewalk which stretches from Durango to Tampico Streets. Driveways crossed by the sidewalk still have to be replaced as part of the project funded with allocations from the city’s share of federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
The long-awaited sidewalk is also evidence of the city’s significant backlog of unfunded infrastructure projects and the challenges of getting capital improvements done when construction material costs keep rising.
The sidewalk wouldn’t have been built this year at all if officials hadn’t raided another sidewalk project to pay for it.