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OUR VIEW: Cooperate to push MTI paths to completion

Mitchell has made great strides toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly city.

A program of sidewalk construction undertaken by the city's Public Works Department and supported by the mayor and City Council has has added many new sidewalks to the city.

Each year, the city selects an area to focus on. The approach has resulted in better pedestrian pathways to parks, schools and other public facilities. City workers also identify hazardous sidewalks to repair each year in a particular zone of the city, and they add ramps and other features to sidewalks that make them friendlier to people with disabilities.

Over the past several years, it's been typical for the city to annually oversee construction of about 30,000 square feet of new sidewalk and around 12,000 square feet of replacement sidewalk. Though the city orders the work and assures it's done correctly, much of the work is assessed to property owners and carried out by private contractors.

It's an effort that everyone in Mitchell should be proud to support. It makes our city a better, safer, more attractive place to live.

But there are still areas of the city with a lack of connected paths for pedestrians. The burgeoning area south of Interstate 90 is one of those areas.

Mitchell Technical Institute is trying to do something about that. MTI has a $213,375 grant awarded by state government to build safe paths between the campus and the commercial district directly to the campus' west. The project has hit a snag, though, because the grant money will not be released until a plan is devised to safely get across the railroad tracks near the intersection of Burr and Spruce streets.

It appears cooperation among the school, city, county and state will be necessary to figure out and fund a safe railroad crossing. We hope all the parties get together and make it happen.

A disciplined approach to quality-of-life issues is one of the things that separates average cities from great cities. Mitchell has done a great job focusing on safe paths for pedestrians and should push through this obstacle to keep the progress going.