I can’t believe two months have gone by since I moved back to Texas.
It has been a whirlwind experience, with trips to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and most recently, Galveston, on the Texas portfolio. Heck I even found time for a New Year’s trip to Minneapolis to see my eldest son over the holiday, where it was -19 below with a -48 wind chill. Sorry, I’ll take Texas in January anytime.
Everything I have seen here has impressed me, including hanging out in Jerry’s Palace in Dallas, the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TCU stadium in Fort Worth, Sixth Street in Austin and most recently, Moody Gardens in Galveston for the annual mid-winter Texas Press Association convention.
The hotel was magnificent in its old-style way, and the Amazon Rain Forest pyramid is something everyone should see.
But on Sunday, it was time to just relax and get some balance back. I decided to take a long walk around the city of Gonzales. I started from the newspaper, walked in the old mansion neighborhoods, and then back to downtown and then the newspaper again.
The old houses are glorious. The sidewalks are not.
I was surprised at the state of the sidewalks in many of the neighborhoods in Gonzales. If sections were not badly deteriorated or uprooted due to tree roots, many areas were just simply overgrown. I was shocked to see this in almost every neighborhood. Then I talked to some homeowners who were out working in their yards and they just shook their heads at the state of the sidewalks.
“I think it’s a mess the way some of the sidewalks are, but now don’t go writing about it,” one man joked. “The next thing you know the ‘ol city will be knocking on my door telling me to fix it.”
His neighbor across the street laughed, chiming in with, “Don’t worry—your sidewalk is so covered in grass they won’t even know you have one there.”
It was funny, but sadly, it was true.
Now I don’t know that sidewalks are really a big deal or not, or that it even deserves the space being devoted to this, but I do know that on my hike I noticed a few kids walking down the middle of the street instead of on the sidewalk. One junior high aged boy was dribbling a basketball down the street. A car came around the corner and had to slam on its brakes to avoid hitting the boy. The guy in the truck admonished the boy to get out of the street and he said, “And walk on what?”
Which got me to thinking about our sidewalks and how they came to be in such disrepair. Just out of curiosity, I am wondering if any of you think this is an issue and if something should be done about it. One way cities are judged by their peers and developers is the state and length of their sidewalks. I am afraid Gonzales would not score well on that measurable. If this is something you have an opinion on, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to know what you think.
Terry Fitzwater is the publisher of the Gonzales Inquirer. You can reach him at email@example.com.