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State

Neighborhood gets its first sidewalk

FAIRMONT (AP) – A small unincorporated area where about 2,500 people live in Will County has gotten its first sidewalk.

Fairmont, located between Joliet and Lockport, now has a 1,000-foot sidewalk that runs from the local school south on Green Garden Place into the neighborhood. It opened on Oct. 14 and there was a ceremony on Oct. 24.

Fairmont School District 89 Superintendent Sonya Whitaker said she didn’t understand why students were walking on the grass to school when she first arrived in the community four years ago.

“They didn’t have access to a sidewalk,” she told The Herald-News. “Usually as an educator), you’re thinking about reading, writing and arithmetic. I was thinking, ‘what will it take to get a sidewalk up and running?’”

The sidewalk is part of an effort to improve the neighborhood. The area also has recently gotten an urban garden at the Fairmont Community Center and a bus shelter. Fairmont is making the improvements with help from the state, Lockport Township, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and volunteers.

Will County Board member Denise Winfrey said children would walk in ditches in the snow and rain because “there was no place else for them to be.”

Local school board member Charles Travis thanked the community on behalf of the children for putting the sidewalk in. Travis said he walked on the streets to school when he was a child.

“I never would have thought that I would have seen a sidewalk in Fairmont,” he said.

The Rev. Richard House, of Shiloh Baptist Church, was impressed that children were skateboarding on the new sidewalk.

“I’ve never seen kids skateboarding in Fairmont,” he said.

Longtime resident Henry Travis says the sidewalk indicates the neighborhood is “going forward instead of backward.”

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Information from: The Herald-News, http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews

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