City of Wichita Falls receives America Walks 2021 Crosswalk Grant

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The City of Wichita Falls is set to receive the America Walks 2021 Crosswalk Grant, beating out cities in 12 other states.

A ribbon cutting held on Monday saw that grant being put into action. Crosswalk beacons, located near Lamar Elementary School on the intersection of Hines Boulevard and Lucas Avenue, are now going to be more visible to drivers.

Amanda Garcia, Lamar Elementary principal, said it’s something the school needed due to the lack of a crossing guard.

“It is a huge blessing to our campus and for our student body because it helps keep them walking to school, to and from school, extremely safe,” Garcia said. “We couldn’t ask for anything more, we don’t have a crossing guard and so, and that’s okay because the beacons help provide additional safety for our students.”

Mayor Stephen Santellana attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and he said the chances for receiving the grant were slim. He, along with many others, sees it as a blessing to have them installed for the community.

“This is going to be good,” Santellana said. “This is a blessing for them to actually have these beacons basically for the safety of the children. We always talk about educating them but we’ve got to get them in the building safely and we’ve got to get them out of the building safely.”

Santellana said a big part of the reason they were able to receive the grant is the effort put in by the city officials.

“Sometimes it’s the people behind there, the passion when they’re writing these grants, trying to explain to them why this is a good area and why this school right here needs these,” Santellana said. “They did a good job and we got it.”

The grant opportunity came in April of 2021. Karel Davis, Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District program manager, helped with the decision making on the location of the beacons and she said the process was more difficult than it seems.

“I needed help from the folks in traffic to understand the size of the road and the danger spots,” Davis said. “We came out here and walked and looked, physically looked at ‘what are the hazard spots? And what’s going to be a hazard for children crossing the street?’”

The beacons are larger than normal cross-walking signs and have flashing lights, which Garcia said will be especially helpful in catching the attention of drivers in the area as it is a busy road.

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