HOUSTON – A sidewalk is complete thanks to an 8-year-old girl from the Heights who wrote a letter to the mayor of Houston.
Friday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner met with Sophie Blitz and her family at their home, then walked over to the completed sidewalk.
“You can be very young and have a powerful impact, you can make things happen, you don't have to be my age or older. You can be as young as Sophie in elementary school riding your bicycle. You can still move the hands of government,” Turner said.
The second grader from Harvard Elementary School rides her bike to class every day, but there’s a sidewalk on 5th Street and Cortlandt Street that is not complete. There is also a large pipe that sticks out above the ground.
"I couldn't ride over it so, I had to ride on the street,” Sophie said.
Sophie wrote a letter last month asking the mayor to fix the bumpy sidewalk, saying, “Can you either build a bridge or finish the sidewalk? I will show you the bumpy sidewalk.”
She didn’t want to be rude and wanted to make sure she was a good hostess if the mayor came by to survey the problem.
"If you come visit my house to see the problem sidewalk, my mom says she will give me money to take you to get gelato,” explained Sophie in her letter to the mayor. “If you want to ride your bike, bring your bike. Do you have a bike? Or my mom can drive us there."
The little girl’s mother said Sophie would check the mail every day to see if the mayor had written back to her and, sure enough, she got a response.
“Oh, I'm just so proud of her. My husband and I both are. We gave her basically a civics lesson on how the community works and how she can ask for what she needs and the letter was completely her writing. She composed it and sent it off and I knew that it was so cute and funny that the mayor would have to respond,” explained Dawn Blitz.
Turner wrote back, “Thank you for writing to me. I understand your concern regarding the condition of the sidewalk in your neighborhood. I know how important it is that you and your little sister, Annie, have a safe route to school.”
He told Sophie in the letter that in the future she can contact the Public Works & Engineering Department, which is responsible for the maintenance.
He wrapped up the letter with, “It was a pleasure to receive your letter, Sophie. I congratulate you on your good citizenship in writing to public officials.”
Sophie said she’s glad and excited the mayor wrote back and that her other request still stands.
“Would you like to go for gelato?” she asked.
Sophie and the Mayor finally went out for gelato Friday afternoon.