Street plan at Jefferson School makes sense

Saturday, February 23, 2002

Jefferson Elementary School is an island in southeastern Cape Girardeau, sitting in a quiet neighborhood with a grove of trees on one side and little access from the rest of the city.

For some, this might sound ideal.

But it isn't.

Because of the lack of access, there's plenty of traffic around the school on Minnesota Avenue, leaving children to dart around the cars before and after school. Teen-agers with apparently too much time on their hands hang out in the woods nearby, and elementary students encounter them when cutting through the trees on their way home.

That's why school officials and parents are supporting a $430,000 road project that would run College Street between Minnesota Avenue and West End Boulevard, plus extend Louisiana and Missouri streets to the new College Street extension. It would open up the area around the school. Those woods would no longer give troublemakers a place to hide. And the project would give the entire neighborhood better access to Highway 74 through West End Boulevard.

The design also includes drainage improvements because flooding has been a problem in some areas of the neighborhood.

Already funded and in the city's capital improvement plan, the extension is a good solution to the area's access needs. City planner Kent Bratton said the city already owns the needed right of way and has since the 1950s. He wonders why the streets weren't put in to begin with.

Now it's merely a matter of acquiring easements on 12 properties near the school so construction crews can get to the job site.

Property owners should be cooperative, realizing that what's best for children and that neighborhood generally is best for the community as a whole.

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