New sidewalks for Huntington students are almost complete

Dylan Nester was hit by a car riding his bike to school about six years ago.
Dylan Nester was hit by a car riding his bike to school about six years ago.

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It's only five feet of concrete, but many Huntington residents say it could save a life.

The City is using grant money from the Texas Department of Transportation to build sidewalks leading to every school in the district.

Huntington students are reaping the benefits of an older student's pain.

"It's more like shock," said Huntington High School Senior Dylan Nester. "It's like did this really just happen and it's crazy."

Nester was hit by a car riding his bike to school about six years ago. That year, his aunt, Betsy Gregson, worked to get a safe routes to school grant from TxDOT.

"There's been several other children hit, but it's personal to me to see these children are taken off the streets and put on sidewalks," said Gregson with the City of Huntington.

"I've lived in Huntington for 10 years and this is the first time we've ever had any form of sidewalk," Nester said.

Gregson said they originally applied for the grant in 2002, but were denied. They tried again in 2007 and this time they were approved and now it is a work in progress.

"It goes to show, because they're not finished and they're already using them, it just shows us what a need we had," said Gregson. "As far as the appearance of the sidewalks, the dirt and stuff around them, they don't care, they're walking down the sidewalk and it's cement and it's safe and that's the biggest issue right now."

It's $800,000 worth of concrete that leads to each Huntington campus. A TxDOT grant provides $750,000 and Huntington Independent School District provided $50,000.

"I think the sidewalks are cool because if somebody is driving down the road and they didn't have these sidewalks, they might hit them and they might die," said fourth grader Skyler Sumrall.

"Cars have a less chance of hitting you," said fifth grader Maryssa Combs.

"I am glad that I was able to make a difference," said Nester. "It cost me a sprained ankle, but at least other kids won't get hit by cars."

The sidewalks run down several streets including, Main, Ash, Fifth, and through Centennial Park.

They are being built on city and TxDOT easements.

The sidewalks are expected to be finished in about a month.

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