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City Council hears compelling presentation for safer sidewalks Mon 3 Apr 2017

This is article one on the council session, Monday, April 3, 2017
City jolted into reality on sidewalks. Mary Anne Loy obtains promise from Mayor Hardwick to take immediate action to improve safety for pedestrians. Mike Bell, from his motorized chair makes plea for change in priorities. "This city has a miserable track record when it comes to sidewalks." He challenged members of the Council to borrow his chair and ride from the Public Square to just past the curve at Greensburg and Rice Drive and experience the terrifying situation he experiences there and at other points in Columbia.
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By Ed Waggener

Mike Bell drove his motorized chair into the city Council meeting, Monday evening, April 3, 2017, at the invitation of Mary Ann Loy to speak on sidewalks. He said it doesn't matter so much with the city spends money on, as much as it matters what the city does not spend its money on. And sidewalks are not having the money spent on them that the citizens of Columbia need, especially disabled citizens of Columbia.


Mary Anne Loy, who has led the citizens' drive for safe sidewalks, had delayed her presentation for Bell's arrival, citing Tv Det. Benjamin Matlock's frequent courtroom maneuver to delay awaiting his star witness, just as Bell rolled into the council room.

Bell was soft spoken in his presentation, but blunt and to the point. He said, "This city has a miserable track record when it comes to sidewalks."

He pointed out that wheelchair bound people are constantly being forced into the street because of sidewalk deficiencies like the steps on Campbellsville Street just off the Square.

He offered each council member the opportunity to meet on the square and get into his chair and motor out Greensburg Street past the Flowers house and back in order to really understand his point of view. (A terrifying situation, if one only imagines it.)

He pointed out that a Grissom Street home owner black topped their driveway and ruined the sidewalk. He asked that it be quickly restored.

Mrs. Loy gave an update on the grant application in the works. She asked that projects be put in place now for improvements whether there are grants or not. She said the city budget category labeled Municipal Aid fund has money that can be used for sidewalks and she requested it be used for them now, not put it off for new budget.

She said that a spokesperson for Kentucky Highway Department's District 8 has indicated that new, bolder, wider, and brighter crosswalk markings could happen as early as this summer.

She asked for maintenance on Burkesville Street across from the Presbyterian Church and across from the post office.

Mayor Hardwick said those would be done. He also requested a list of those for planning repairs in future.

This is article one on the council session, Monday, April 3, 2017, see more to come.


This story was posted on 2017-04-04 06:16:23
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Mike Bell makes dramatic plea for safe sidewalks



2017-04-04 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, Columbiamagazine.com(c) .
From his motorized chair, Mike Bell challenged Columbia City Council members to borrow the vehicle and experience what he and others experience every day just to move about their neighborhoods. "This city has a miserable track record when it comes to sidewalks," he told them. He told them that his problems are great, but asked them to consider the spouse/caregivers - most often wives - who push wheelchairs along the streets. They are the ones who really suffer from the neglect. Bell exited the room early, to avoid the darkness and the rain, to applause from the gallery for a speech which deserved a standing ovation. - EW

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Councillors give Mike Bell rapt attention



2017-04-04 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, Columbiamagazine.com(c) .
City Councillors, front to back, Ronald Rogers, Pam Hoots (partially obscured), and Mark D. Harris, gave rapt attention to the presentation by Mike Bell of the Bomar Heights neighborhood at the Monday evening, April 3, 2017, session of Columbia City Council. Mr. Bell's quiet analysis of the sorry state of Columbia's sidewalks may be remembered as a turning point in priorities for City Council. His impact was evident from the moment of his entrance. As he spoke, all ears were listening to him, hardly another sound could be heard. - EW

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