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Hillsborough County To Allocate $20 Million To Improve Sidewalks

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Hillsborough County Commission approved to allocate $20 million to improve sidewalks through out the county on Wednesday.

"It's important to address even the tiniest cracks because we aren't always watching where we walk so it's easy to trip, it's easy for gravel to get caught in and for kids to slip on their bikes, and their bike wheels catch," said Caro Massari, a Hillsborough County mother.

Massari says the sidewalks around Mabry Elementary School have been an issue for years.

"We have such a high volume of pedestrians for all the various activities happening here that it's definitely in some need of some upkeep," said Massari.

But sidewalk cracks arent the only issue.

"If we won't have sidewalks to school how are we supposed to get children safely to and from school," said Emily Hinsdale with Sidewalk Stompers.

Sidewalk Stompers is an organization dedicated to improving school and neighborhood walkways, and president of the group, Emily Hinsdale, says more and more students are walking to and from school on busy roads.

"Most of our neighborhoods don't have sidewalks," said Hinsdale.

She says shorter, younger children are especially hard to see walking in the road.

"Until the age of ten, children have a difficult time judging the distance from them to a car so that's why it's important to keep them out of the road," said Hinsdale.

And that's why Hillsborough County Commission voted on Wednesday to use $20 million of the American Rescue Plan act to fix sidewalks.

"Year after year after year we hear we are number one, number two always in the top 10 for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in this country and it's just a statistic that we have to overcome," said Harry Cohen, a Hillsborough County Commissioner.

Hinsdale says she wants to see improvements sooner than later.

"The only way we can protect our kids is to give them save walkable routes," said Hinsdale.

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