UPDATE: Goshen schools looking for financial help for sidewalks - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Goshen schools looking for financial help for sidewalk project

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When people send their kids off to school they of course want to make sure they are safe, but there are some sidewalk safety concerns in Goshen.

Goshen Community Schools already cut down on their bus routes next year, they want to provide their students with safe sidewalks to get to and from school.

The project will cost approximately $125,000 according to Superintendent Diane Woodworth. The school wants to make sure there is a miles worth of walkways around the radius of each school in the district.

"If we had sidewalks in some of those areas it'd make a safe route to school for kids," said Woodworth.

While school officials would like to start putting down the pavement tomorrow, they say they simply don't have the money. The district is hoping the city will help pay for some of the check like they have.

"This time we're looking at a 50/50 split and hopefully we can get that accomplished," said Woodworth.

City Officials say they understand why the school wants to put in the sidewalks, and they would love to help, but unfortunately, they also do not have the cash to spare. The city recently withdrew $500,000 of their rainy day fund to help with some general funding issues.

"We have partnered with [Goshen Community Schools] in the past. I just think right now is the time, when the city itself needs to hang onto its money and see where we're going to go with some of the expenses that [the city council] have," said Goshen City Council President Jim McKee.

Some parents say they don't care where the money comes from; the sidewalks are a safety necessity.

"Just need to make sure that our kids are getting there safely," said Laurie Weitzel, a mother of a Goshen Student. "Unfortunately a lot of parents both have to work nowadays and they can't get their kids back and forth to school."

School officials say they will look at other possibilities if the city council votes not to split the bill. The school does not want to tap into their own "rainy day fund", but Woodworth says it is an option.

"We hope to get [the sidewalk project] going at least this summer," said Woodworth. "That way families would know it'd be finished early in the school year. We start school in August, so it's a pretty short turn around."

School officials also believe this would be a win-win for the city and the district. Other people in the city will use the walk ways, so it's not like they are just for the schools.

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