'That's never safe': Broken sidewalk has some seniors struggling to get food from NW Houston pantry

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Poor walking conditions make getting food to pantry difficult
A stretch of concrete in northwest Houston is causing problems for seniors who are trying to get food from the Christian Outreach Center.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Christian Outreach Center in northwest Houston gives food to anyone who needs it each Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"We do not care about the zip code," church director Allen Boutte said. "They come from all over Houston, and we are here for their needs."

The center is at 4333 West Little York. Most participants visit the pantry by vehicle, but Boutte said that's not always the case.

"We do have a significant amount of people who walk up," he said.

This is why a broken section of sidewalk, currently filled in with large rocks, concerns people affiliated with the pantry.

The pastor said that portion of the sidewalk has been torn up for the better part of a year, and that it takes a toll on seniors who walk to the center to receive food.

"It is so unbalanced. So when a person is older, they may have a hard time walking over it," Boutte explained.

He also described how he has seen people in wheelchairs cross West Little York and then cross back over to avoid having to navigate over the busted-up sidewalk.

There are no crosswalks directly connecting the pantry to the other side of the street.

"That's never safe," he said.

Boutte said he first noticed the sidewalk had been torn up after work had started along a stretch of White Oak Bayou next door to the pantry.

ABC13 has confirmed the construction he referenced is a flood-mitigation project being overseen by the Harris County Flood Control District, and that the work is being funded by post-Harvey bonds approved by voters in 2018.

The Harris County Flood Control District chose Burnside Services out of Navasota to complete the work, which should have already been finished based on the initial timeline, but that company filed for bankruptcy last May.

Boutte said that was about the last time he saw any work being done on the project.

"It just stopped," he said. "At this point, I do not know what is going on."

In a statement to ABC13, the Harris County Flood Control District explained that the broken piece of sidewalk served as a construction entrance and that a new contractor will resume work on the flood mitigation project this summer.

In the meantime, they said they'll be working on a temporary solution to improve the situation for those walking down that stretch of West Little York.

If you need assistance with food, the Christian Outreach Center can be reached at 713-683-0847.

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