Covington City Council unanimously approved at their meeting Monday to amend their 2012-2013 fiscal year budget to add a sidewalk on Carlton Trail, after citizens voiced their concerns about adding the sidewalk for what some council members say has been more than 10 years.
The council at first approved adding the estimated $85,824 project to their 2013-2014 fiscal year budget, but council member Hawnethia Williams made a motion to resend her motion after the council discussed the safety concerns they had with the speed limits in the area, which is located by Cousins Middle School.
Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton told the council that any time a sidewalk is placed in any area it makes the neighborhood safer. He gave an example of the dangerous situations he's personally seen in that particular area and said the sidewalk needed to be there.
"I was riding toward the school one morning and about 15 kids were coming from the school and they couldn't really get off the street and I had cars coming at me and I couldn't really go around them too well," Cotton said.
"There's a tremendous amount of kids coming in and out that streets. There's a lot more foot traffic there," he said.
The sidewalk would be installed between along the western side of the Carlton Trail between Geiger Street and Village Drive and along the eastern side of the street between Village Drive and Moore Street.
George Jefferson, a resident of Carlton Trail spoke on behalf of the Cambridge Forest Community, who sent a letter to the council asking them to consider adding the sidewalk.
Jefferson said the amount of traffic volume from cars and buses has increased due to the school being in the area. He said adding sidewalks would make the area safer for children who are walking to school and it would also increase property values in the area.
"Thirty-five miles per hour doesn't seem like very much unless you are walking beside it," Jefferson said. "I believe that if the city will invest in sidewalks, it will be an added value not only for the Cambridge Forest Community but for the city of Covington."
Council member Chris Smith agreed that with the speed limit being 35 mph without a sidewalk makes for an unsafe circumstance.
"The problem is people walking with that speed," Smith said. "With the sidewalk in place, the speed limit works."
City Manager Steve Horton said the request for sidewalks on Carlton Trail has been made on more than one occasion. He said when the area was last visited, they contacted about 27 people about whether or not to place sidewalks in the area and about nine people voiced their concerns about having a sidewalk in front of their homes.
After the council approved amending their budget, council member Janet Goodman said she did not want the community to be disillusioned by the council's decision of adding the sidewalk.
"Those people who were against it fought hard against it," Goodman said. "After you find out who they are, you all need to work on it, that's the only reason it has not been extended this far. They were real adamant in not wanting it."