City of Kannapolis
The City of Kannapolis wants to encourage walking to downtown Kannapolis from the neighborhoods and schools on east side of downtown by making it more fun and interesting on sidewalks and intersections. We would paint on the sidewalks and some crosswalks (or paint crosswalks where they don't exist) in a fun and artful manner. Ideas include footsteps, hopscotch squares, and musical notes. Different kinds of patterns/markings could indicate different routes. There would also be "chalk stations" where sidewalk chalk would be available for kids to use their creativity to draw/write on the sidewalk and add to the painted designs.
We would also install vertical "musical elements" at various locations along the sidewalk within this area on the east side. This serves two purposes: 1) to alert cars that children are at the intersection if the musical element is at an intersection, and 2) to provide kids with an activity or "destination" to look forward to as they continue their walk. These musical elements could include things like pots and pans, metal tubes, or other fun noisemakers. The exact design and selection of the sidewalk and crosswalk art and musical elements will be determined through the community engagement process.
The "mill village" neighborhood on the east side of Kannapolis has a network of grid-patterned streets with a main connector street (1st St) leading into downtown. The houses in the neighborhood are modest, typically 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom houses of about 1,100 square feet, with some larger homes along Ridge Ave. The area includes A.L. Brown High School (grades 9-12) and Kannapolis Intermediate School (grades 5-6) within walking distance as well. It is just under ½ mile to get from A.L. Brown High School to downtown via 1st St. From Kannapolis Intermediate School to the downtown rail crossing at 1st St is 0.65 miles. This is an achievable distance to get kids having fun while walking. While some streets have sidewalks on only one side of the road or have older, narrow sidewalks, we believe that we will be able to prioritize the most feasible streets for this project and/or develop designs that adapt to the sidewalk conditions.
Although there are ballfields at the schools that can be utilized by the public, the only playground in the area is an older one at the Intermediate School. The area around the Intermediate School is a low-income area that the City has been working on revitalizing for the last eight years.
- Irene Sacks