The "crooked man" in a well-known nursery rhyme, who "walked a crooked mile," probably would enjoy a stroll along a sidewalk in an east-side neighborhood.
The sidewalk, on North Avenida Ricardo Small east of North Camino Seco and north of East Speedway, is quite crooked itself.
The sidewalk's tale began with a $13.9 million, two-year road-widening project on East Speedway between North Camino Seco and North Houghton Road that started in 2010. The project was funded by the Regional Transportation Authority, and included putting utility lines underground, installing new signal lights and improving storm drains.
Residents in the Desert Palms Park Neighborhood worked with the city to have a sidewalk built on Avenida Ricardo Small for walkers and joggers, said Michael Beach, former president of the neighborhood association.
A portion of the sidewalk was built around a tree.
"That is why the sidewalk is crooked," Beach said.
Fred Felix, who was the city's project manager, recalled that the tree "needed attention," including water.
After the sidewalk was built around the tree in the summer of 2011, a property owner asked the city to remove the tree, Felix said.
"We just took the tree out. It was old," he said.
Once the tree was removed, decorative rocks were placed in the area by a landscape company hired by the Desert Palms Townhouse Homeowners Association, said Carmine Carriero, community manager for the homeowners association.
The sidewalk, even though it is crooked, has been well-received, Beach said. "It completes the neighborhood. It makes it better."
"I think it is a unique thing that we have," said Dina Rosengarten, vice president of the neighborhood association, who walks regularly on the unusual sidewalk.
Now that the tree is gone, "you stop and wonder what the heck were they thinking," Rosengarten said, laughing.
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