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Student's Dream for Moon Lake Road Sidewalk on Path to Realization

Corey Smith requested that sidewalks be added to Moon Lake Road.

When Corey Smith was 12, he asked his mother why he couldn’t walk to school on Moon Lake Road and why nobody was putting a sidewalk there. 

“I don’t know,” said his mother Elaine Smith, who is parks and recreation director for the city of New Port Richey. “Why don’t you do something about it?”

So he did.

It was 2008, and Corey Smith was in 7th grade at River Ridge Middle School when his mother issued the challenge.

He did research, found opportunity for funding and took his request for a sidewalk to the Pasco County Commission.

Now, Corey is 15, and the county is slated to begin work in late April on adding a shared-use path, which is wider than a sidewalk to accommodate bicycles as well as pedestrians, to the east side of Moon Lake Road. It estimates the project will be completed this summer.

“I just can’t wait for it to be done,” Corey said.

Corey Smith lives on Randee Road in Moon Lake, which, along with the school, is outside the city of New Port Richey. There were no sidewalks on Moon Lake Road in 2008.

In 2008, after his mother issued her challenge, Corey met with the New Port Richey zoning and GIS officer, who made maps for Corey that showed where crosswalks and sidewalks were needed.

Corey also contacted the district coordinator for Safe Routes to Schools, a federal program that funnels money toward projects dedicated to making sure kids get to schools.

He went to the Pasco County Commission in December 2008, armed with knowledge about Safe Routes to School. He told commissioners he and friends wanted to bike to school but couldn’t because the road was busy.

He told commissioners that he understood a widening project was being discussed for Moon Lake Road and was scheduled for 2022.

“I will be 26 years old then,” he said.  “We need a sidewalk sooner than that.”

“At the young age of 12, he didn’t just tell them the problem," Elaine Smith said. "He told them how to fix it.”

After Corey brought his concerns to the commission, the county and the Pasco School District applied for the Safe Routes to School money.

In fiscal year 2010, the state Department of Transportation gave the green light for the project to be funded with Safe Routes to School money. In November of 2010, commissioners approved a Local Agency Planning that permitted the project to be designed and funded.

The project is projected to cost just shy of $111,000.

On the week of April 23, the county is slated to begin work on an 8-foot wide shared-use path (which is wide enough to walk and ride a bike on) on the east side of Moon Lake Road from 200 feet north of Ridge Road to Randee Road, according to county project administrator Deborah Bolduc. That totals 3,200 feet. 

There will also be pedestrian features added on the east leg of the intersection of Ridge Road at Moon Lake/Decubellis at the existing signal.

The project is estimated to finish in mid-June.

“I was like ‘finally,'” when given the news the project would be done, Corey said.

This has taken “forever” to Corey, Elaine Smith said. “But for county government, this is pretty fast.”

r February 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM
About time. Way to go Corey.
Richard Tiegen February 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Stop complaining about NPR, Just do something.
Roxie Spell February 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Excellent job Corey, it is definately needed and I know that the community will appreciate it. Thanks for not giving up and caring. Roxie Spell
Jennifer Eichenberger February 22, 2012 at 03:02 AM
It is about time. I see people not just walking to and from the school, but people who do not have transportation walking and biking VERY close to the road up to Publix, 7-11 and CVS, which is dangerous. For many Moon Lake residents who have to walk to the local stores, the sidewalk will make it safer. I am a good driver, but I worry about hitting someone since not everyone wears reflective clothing at night. So Yayy Corey, great job!
bobthe February 22, 2012 at 08:02 AM
yeah. let's not build a sidewalk for our kids to safely walk to school because in 10 years we MIGHT have to move it... can a person really be this stupid?
bobthe February 22, 2012 at 08:03 AM
corey smith for president!
narush April 22, 2012 at 11:18 PM
There are nearly 4,000 residents living near or off of Moon Lake, you think there's a side walk by now. How about stretching it down to 52?
Diane Carlstrom April 23, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Great job Corey! This is so badly needed. We have so many families living in here with no access to public transportation. Everyday I see someone walking or biking up MoonLake Rd and worry I am going to hear about someone being killed on the side of the road. Maybe one day we will even have a bus route that stops nearby which will enable many back here to look for and hopefully find work. One dream at a time. I am really eager to see this start but part of me is expecting to hear excuses why it has been delayed.
Jim Slaughter April 03, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Great job Corey! Your Mom used to work for me and I met you when you were just a baby! Thanks for setting a great example for your peers!
Diane Carlstrom April 04, 2013 at 12:35 PM
While this was a great accompllishment I have to echo the question above ad ask why not extend it? Someone pointed out there are 4000 people in here which includes a greatdeal of people that have no access to public transportation and ths jobs. Yay, McDonalds is opening down on Ridge, that should take care of it, right? There is an awful lot of negative said about Moonlake much of which could be mitigated by access to pblic transportation. To folks that do live here- we can organise and get plenty done! There is more than enough of us here to do so! Is anyone interested in talking about it?
rhonda August 10, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Great sidewalk but, now they're going to tear it up to put in a pipeline. It's called the Moon Lake Road Forcemain Project schedeled to begin this winter. www.moonlakeproject.com. It will run from DeCubellis & Ridge down Moon Lake Rd, turn right onto Terra Ceia Ave north on Adler St, east on Banbury Ave north along Lake Dr, west on Oconee Blvd and north along Key Lime Dr to 52. 5.5 miles. A lot of construction, alot of time, a lot of inconvenience for a lot of people.

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