COLUMBIA, 8/10/12 (Beat Byte) -- "What will it take to get the sidewalks fixed in Columbia?" Missourian reader Delcia Crockett wrote July 31, in a letter urging city officials to "get off their duffs and get it done."

After years of waiting, complaining, and long-standing neglect, neighbors along Broadway -- Columbia's central "drag" through the Old Southwest in the First and Fourth Wards -- are seeing long stretches of new sidewalk gradually replace a broken, pock-marked mess that more resembled chip and seal -- a fragmentary paving material -- than a concrete walkway.
And that's not all. Around the central city, street paving projects have brought new luster to streets like Ash and Greenwood; and new sidewalks have replaced old on other streets like Westwood.

Old Southwest Neighborhood Association president Hank Ottinger has been quietly working with the city to identify the long-neglected strips, and like a pied piper of pouring and paving, has encouraged City Hall to lay down new concrete and real pavement -- not just chip and seal, that cheap asphalt imitation.
Kudos, meanwhile, to Council members Fred Schmidt and Daryl Dudley, city manager Mike Matthes, and public works director John Glascock for the work.