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Kids help get dangerous sidewalk fixed

By EMILY BAUCUM
News 4 San Antonio
Facebook: Emily Baucum TV
Twitter: @EmilyBaucum

SAN ANTONIO - A dangerous sidewalk in front of a local middle school has been fixed, and it's who made the change happen that's now inspiring a community.

There's an old children's book called "Where The Sidewalk Ends." On Kyle Seale Parkway, kids knew a school crosswalk was where the storybook came to life.

"It was just a dirt road with a bunch of rocks and weeds," eighth grader Santiago Gutierrez says.

It was a treacherous walk, with cars zooming past.

"You'd have to like, squeeze through the bushes," eighth grader Christian Techam says.

It wasn't until a special guest came to NISD's Hector P. Garcia Middle School that the students realized they could change things.

"They're probably the most engaged and active citizens you would find in our community, bar none," District 8 city councilman Ron Nirenberg says.

After he hosted a Kids' Town Hall, the wheels started turning.

"He said try to make your community better," Gutierrez says. "And that sidewalk, I kept thinking about that. And that was a way I wanted to make my community better."

So the kids wrote a proposal to fix the sidewalk and submitted it to the councilman.

"At first, it seemed like we're so young and like, why would they listen to us," student Nicholas Nyberg says.

But the councilman says that was actually the first time the sidewalk gap had been brought to his attention.

"The irony of this is these students are six or seven years away from being able to vote, yet they have demonstrated more active citizenship than 95% of our community," Councilman Nirenberg says.

The city approved $29,000 in funding and construction crews got to work.

"The first day I saw all the tractors working I was like, oh my gosh, they're actually doing it," Gutierrez says.

At long last, the sidewalk is now complete.

"We learned that we can make a difference even though we're just kids," Nyberg says.

A lesson you can't always learn in a book - but maybe from walking in their shoes, we adults can help write a new chapter in our neighborhoods.

"Speak up," Gutierrez says. "If you see something that needs changing, tell somebody and maybe you'll get the opportunity to change it."

If you ever have trouble getting in touch with your city council member, just give our newsroom a call at (210) 442-NEWS and we'll get you connected with the right people. You can also click here to send reporter Emily Baucum an email.

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