Walkers say too many sidewalks end abruptly in their Delray Beach neighborhoods. One teenager is speaking up, hoping her story can lead to changes.
When Chiemeka Fevecque isn’t in class, she’s improving her green thumb.
“I have collard greens and pimento peppers,” she said, pointing to her plot at Frog Alley Community Garden.
Her house is just two doors down from the garden, but getting there isn’t easy.
Fevecque uses a wheelchair and the sidewalk in front of her grandmother’s house ends at the property line.
“It’s almost like a maze, a zig zag,” the 18-year-old described the route she is forced to take.
She crosses Southwest 4th Avenue, uses the complete sidewalk on the east side of the road, and then crosses back across the road to the garden. She doesn’t roll down the street for safety reasons.
“It’s so close, but so far,” she said.
Her block isn’t the only one with incomplete sidewalks. Commissioner Mitch Katz said the issue is on the city’s radar.
He said the city is working with the community redevelopment agency to add sidewalks and improve alleys in neighborhoods. There is currently a project going on in Osceola Park, on the city’s southeast side.
“Instead of doing a street here and street there, we want to do complete neighborhoods at once,” he pointed out.
Katz explained the city requires people building new houses, or renovating houses, to install sidewalks.
The city is drafting a new policy allowing it to take money from projects in one part of town and use it in a different part of town, specifically for sidewalks in need of help.
“Anywhere that’s paved is sacred ground for me,” said Fevecque, a senior at Saint John Paul II High School in Boca Raton.
She looks forward to a day with more sidewalks.
“It’s going to benefit other people who may have more trouble than I do,” she said. “That’s what really got me to speak up.”
It may also give everyone a clear path to the garden and beyond.