St. John, KS - “The new sidewalk along First Street makes me feel safer about letting my son walk or ride to school, I just wish the sidewalk went all the way to the school for our children walking, said Randee Olive, a local St. John parent.
With the start of the school year, parents are aware about the lack of safety for children walking to school. According to the CDC, 20% of children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians in 2013.
With the help of Live Well Stafford County (LWSC) volunteers, Walk Audits were conducted in four local communities to identify unsafe, missing and broken sidewalks.
High-concern, low-safety areas included:
A map highlights commonly traveled pedestrian and walk-to school routes that is being used for the Master Bike and Walk Plan created for St. John and Stafford. The Plan encompasses sidewalk infrastructure, proposed bike lanes and curb extensions.
"Making these improvements to our sidewalks will make it safer and more inviting for kids to walk to school. We're already seeing, though, that it's not just kids who benefit. Almost every evening I've driven by the new sidewalk on 1st Street I've seen senior citizens, and in particular those in wheelchairs utilizing it," said Carolyn Dunn, Executive Director of Stafford Economic Development and Leadership Team member for Live Well Stafford County.
Here are four lifesaving tips from the National Center for Safe Routes to School:
About Live Well Stafford County
Live Well Stafford County is a volunteer-based health coalition dedicated to improving the health of all Stafford County residents by building local infrastructure that supports walking and biking to maximize safety, economic, accessibility and environmental benefits. LWSC is invested in community education to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the overall quality of life for all residents.
On Tuesday, August 2nd, residents in the City of St. John were encouraged to vote on a 1% sales tax proposition. The proposition read as follows:
"Shall the following be adopted?
Shall a retailers' sales tax in the amount of one-percent (1.0%) be levied in the City of St. John, Kansas to take effect on January 1, 2017 or as soon thereafter as such tax may be levied by the Kansas Department of Revenue, and shall be collected for a period of ten (10) years from the effective date of the retailer's sales tax, with revenue from such tax used to fund general governmental services provided by the City, which may include but is not limited to, economic development purposes and infrastructure projects in the City of St. John, Kansas, all pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., as amended?"
Voting was close, but the sales tax proposition did pass and will take effect in January 2017. Funds from this sales tax will help with costs to establish a new grocery store within the City and further business development that includes infrastructure development needed to support new business.
Given historical sales levels (prior to Dillon's closing) a sales tax will generate over $100,000 per year with a grocery store being the single biggest contributor to the sales tax base.
Prior to this vote, St. John was currently one of the few cities around that did not charge a city sales tax. Here are a few examples of surrounding communities' total sales tax percentages, keeping in mind that the State Tax is 6.50% and Stafford County is 1.00% of that total:
Stafford County Economic Development
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