NewsPolk County


Lake Wales awarded $1.2M to increase pedestrian safety in underserved community

Lake Wales Sidewalks
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 18:53:42-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — The City of Lake Wales will use more than a million dollars to help keep pedestrians safe in a historically underserved community.

Any given morning you can find Larry Seay, taking a walk around his Northwest Lake Wales neighborhood.

“Pretty much every day. I'm diabetic, so I walk the streets every day,” Seay said.

He will be the first to tell you that the sidewalks aren't the safest. “They’re off balance. They got a lot of cracks in them, a lot of grass growing in them and they’re really not good for people to be walking on,” he said.

It’s no secret, the historically Black neighborhood has not had infrastructure upgrades in years. “They’re just bad. Just take a look around,” said Seay.

The City of Lake Wales just received nearly $1.2 million to restore sidewalks and footpaths in the Northwest neighborhood. Plans include widening existing sidewalks and adding sidewalks along streets that don’t have them.

“To create a safe environment for our pedestrians as well as beautify the neighborhood. It’s part of our overall effort to revitalize Lake Wales,” said City Manager James Slaton.

Lake Wales is one of ten Florida communities to receive funding administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Construction on the sidewalks is set to begin later this year. Seay couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s hard to get things down here, but if the City of Lake Wales is going to do it, I'll be glad when they do it,” said Seay.