Lynne Hermansen
The lack of sidewalks on Shawnee Street from Mulberry Street east towards Price Chopper were discussed during public comments at Monday night’s city council meeting.
Pamela Harkins, Shawnee Street resident, said she didn’t know if sidewalks had been approved from East Shawnee Street down to Dairy Queen by the City in years past.
“How, what do I do to get a sidewalk,”she said. “It is the new Main Street.”
Harkins said she had concerns for her elderly 84 year old neighbor who takes daily walks and the neighborhood children.
“I’m afraid they are going to get hit,”she said. “I’m really worried someone will get hurt or die.”
Harkins said cars drive too fast and the traffic has increased with the Main Street construction.
During council updates Mayor Todd Winters inquired if the city at some point had set money aside for sidewalks on Shawnee Street.
Steve Shute, council vice president, said the setbacks weren’t that great and it was a more dangerous street because of Main Street.
“It has gotten really bad,”he said. “You would never know it is only 25mph. It is like a drag race.”
Shute said he wondered if a traffic calming device measure could help ease the issue.
Harkins said the residents would tell the city to do whatever they needed to do to help the problem.
“We have had to slow down cars ourselves by standing in the street,”she said.
Shute said maybe it would be possible for them to look at the Safe Routes for School program for funding help.
Tory Roberts, council member, said maybe in the meantime they could look at a speed calming device as a temporary measure.
Police Chief Jay Belcher said the street doesn’t have enough room for a speed monitor, especially when cars park on both sides.
“We can get an officer over to monitor,”he said.

Other Business:
-a voluntary land annexation for two tracts of land along Clare Road and 191st Street east of I-35 passed.
Steve Shute, council vice president, said it was a huge land annexation for Gardner.
“It solidifies our eastern boundary,”he said. “It is very important to insure our growth area. It is a huge step forward.”
-a 20 minute executive session for the preliminary discussion of property acquisition resulted in no action taken.
-Jason Bruce, Parks and Rec director, said during council updates they had begun looking at inclusive play for the city parks with plans to put together a selection committee.
Shute said he appreciated the update and would like to see design updates before the end of the year with the inclusive play park advocates and residents heavily involved.
Bruce said they plan on having design feedback from advocates who had been recently attending council meetings and voicing their desire for their children to have inclusive play at the parks.