9-year-old girl writes letter to city council asking for sidewalk

Madelyn Gerker was contacted by Cincinnati's mayor.

March 28, 2018, 9:25 AM

A fourth-grader from Cincinnati is receiving responses from city officials after she began fighting to have a sidewalk built in her hometown.

Madelyn Gerker, 9, wrote a letter to Cincinnati City Council, advocating to have a concrete pathway built on her road, which leads to her elementary school.

Madelyn's request is now on the agenda for a city council meeting.

"It started a year ago when she asked if she could ride her scooter to school and I said, 'No,' because we didn't have a sidewalk," Madelyn's mother, Heather Gerker, told ABC News. "She started thinking how it will impact other children walking to school and how the sidewalk could impact her and not just her and her siblings."

Gerker, a mom of three, said Madelyn showed an interest in wanting to have a sidewalk built on what they considered an unsafe road that she takes when walking to school. With her mom, Madelyn attended a community council meeting in their neighborhood of Mount Washington, Cincinnati.

PHOTO: In the letter dated March 22 to Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Madelyn shares how she and her siblings avoid broken pavement and speeding cars while walking to school, which is two blocks away from their home.
In the letter dated March 22 to Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Madelyn shares how she and her siblings avoid broken pavement and speeding cars while walking to school, which is two blocks away from their home.
Heather Gerker

Later, a community council member encouraged Madelyn to write another letter to Mayor John Cranley, Gerker said.

In the letter dated March 22, Madelyn shares how she and her siblings avoid broken pavement and speeding cars while walking to school, which is two blocks away from their home.

PHOTO: Madelyn Gerker, a fourth-grader from Cincinnati, is receiving responses from city officials after she began fighting to have a sidewalk built in her hometown.
Madelyn Gerker, a fourth-grader from Cincinnati, is receiving responses from city officials after she began fighting to have a sidewalk built in her hometown.
WCPO

"My point is, we need a sidewalk!" Madelyn wrote. "Also, I came up with a slogan 'No sidewalk, no safety.'"

Madelyn used her slogan on flyers that she made, which included a website link to a pedestrian safety survey and encouraged community members to ask for the sidewalk to be built.

PHOTO: Madelyn Gerker, 9, seen in an undated photo with her two siblings, Henry and Clara, both 7. Madelyn showed an interest in wanting to have a sidewalk built on what they considered an unsafe road that she and her siblings take when walking to school.
Madelyn Gerker, 9, seen in an undated photo with her two siblings, Henry and Clara, both 7. Madelyn showed an interest in wanting to have a sidewalk built on what they considered an unsafe road that she and her siblings take when walking to school.
Heather Gerker

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld formally filed Madelyn's letter in the council record. It was part of a committee agenda Tuesday.

"I think Madelyn is modeling good citizenship for the rest of us, reaching out to her local elected officials about an important and urgent need," Sittenfeld wrote in a statement to ABC News. "In our last city budget, I sponsored a half-million-dollar allocation for pedestrian safety, and we will be re-upping that again in this year's budget. So, Madelyn, thank you for writing to us, and help is on the way!"

PHOTO: Madelyn Gerker, 9, wrote a letter to Cincinnati City Council, advocating to have a concrete pathway built on her road, which leads to her elementary school.
Madelyn Gerker, 9, wrote a letter to Cincinnati City Council, advocating to have a concrete pathway built on her road, which leads to her elementary school.
WCPO

In a letter from Mayor John Cranley addressed to Madelyn, Cranley tells the young girl that he's been working with the Department of Transportation and Engineering since January in order to develop plans for the sidewalk.

"I would be happy to meet with you to further discuss safety with you and your parents," Cranley wrote in the letter, which was released to ABC News.

PHOTO: In a letter from Mayor John Cranley addressed to Madelyn, Cranley tells the young girl that he's been working with the Department of Transportation and Engineering since January in order to develop plans for the sidewalk.
In a letter from Mayor John Cranley addressed to Madelyn, Cranley tells the young girl that he's been working with the Department of Transportation and Engineering since January in order to develop plans for the sidewalk.
Office of Mayor John Cranley

He went on, "Cincinnati has a bright future because of students like you."

On April 9, Madelyn will be leading city engineers on a walk to her school so they can see for themselves the importance for the sidewalk.

PHOTO: Madelyn Gerker seen in an undated photo with Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld's staff as she shows them the broken pavement she walks on to school.
Madelyn Gerker seen in an undated photo with Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld's staff as she shows them the broken pavement she walks on to school.
Heather Gerker
PHOTO: On April 9, 2018 Madelyn Gerker, 9, will be leading city engineers on a walk to her school so they can see for themselves the importance for a sidewalk to be built in her hometown.
On April 9, 2018 Madelyn Gerker, 9, will be leading city engineers on a walk to her school so they can see for themselves the importance for a sidewalk to be built in her hometown.
Heather Gerker

Heather Gerker said she hopes her daughter's request will be officially honored by Cincinnati officials.

"I think she will have tears of joy and same for me," Gerker added. "I'm hoping that when she's an adult that she's able to continue this advocacy work for whatever it is she believes in."

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