A look at a sidewalk

Carl Glasemeyer, one of our STAR Team committee members relayed to us a walking experience he and his wife have started practicing.  Below are some of their observations from a walk last week.


The realm of the sidewalk is a vastly separate world from the street. Walking allows for a closer look, a second glance, giving each sight your full attention, and venturing down new paths without a specific destination. Unlike driving, walking is a full sensory experience, perfect for this time of year.


As winter has changed to spring, my spouse and I have changed our routine from watching TV after dinner to taking a walk when we get home. We determine a cardinal direction and set off enthusiastically. On foot we pass each home with enough time to discuss its architecture and personality. Enjoying the shifts in the types of house from one street to the next, we get to know the distinctions between neighborhoods. Whether walking new streets or old, we still find areas previously unknown. This week we enjoyed a public garden on the side on a busy road we had driven by dozens of times without noticing. With the daffodils in bloom and the trees budding, we linger there a moment soaking in the delights that a positive change in our routine has brought us.


Carl’s observations reminded me about a passage I had recently read about the development of sidewalks in Eureka Springs Arkansas. From the book, A fame not easily forgotten:


“Although the streets remained unpaved for many years, visitors could safely walk about the town on well made sidewalks.  The sidewalks of the town were a unique feature of the scenery, as various attractive and durable materials were used in their construction.  An ordinance passed in 1904 instructed property owners to build walks and gutters under the direction of the Streets and Alley Committee of the council, but allowing them a choice of any material so long as they were of a permanent nature.  Some builders chose to use concrete, sometimes inlaid with pieces of glass or stone for decorative purposes, while others used large slabs of smooth native stone in varying colors; and as a whole the sidewalks were both durable and presented in attractive appearance.”


The development of Eureka Springs’ sidewalks and Carl’s sidewalk experience in his Springfield neighborhood is separated by 104-years. However, what seems consistent is the importance of safety, and the intrinsic value which sidewalks can bring to communities. I would challenge readers that the most interesting element we might add to Springfield sidewalks is –YOU–people would be the most active and artful addition to neighborhood sidewalks. Take Carl’s challenge below.


I encourage you to feel the warmth in the air, smell the new blooms, hear the birds’ songs, and explore a new side of your neighborhood.