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October 1, 2014

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Supporters fall short of funds for crosswalk sign in memory of NLV 6-year-old

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Aida Ahmed

Miz Decker, 6, was hit and killed at a North Las Vegas crosswalk on Oct. 21 when 78-year-old Alica Alava failed to yield to pedestrians.

Supporting Mia

To donate money toward the pedestrian sign in Mia Decker's honor, contact the North Las Vegas City Manager’s Office at 633-1002 or the Public Works Department at 633-1200.

Family, friends and concerned residents hope the October 2011 death of 6-year-old Mia Decker won’t be in vain.

Mia was struck in a crosswalk, just minutes away from her North Las Vegas home. Her death several days later, and a number of other high-profile accidents, focused a spotlight on the dangers of being a pedestrian in the valley and raised awareness of the importance of better signage at many busy intersections.

The topic of pedestrian safety was front and center Wednesday night at the North Las Vegas City Council meeting.

Mia’s mother, Michele Terry, along with Villa Pizza owner Donna Botti attended the meeting to present the city with a check for $1,622. The money, collected in Mia’s memory, is to go toward a LED stutter-flash sign to go up at the crosswalk on Camino Eldorado, near Tropical Parkway where Mia was killed.

“I just want things to go to where we can get all the crosswalks fixed,” Terry told the council.

Botti helped organize the “Shine a Light for Mia” fundraiser in early February to raise money for the sign, which is intended to alert pedestrians and drivers alike with a prominent flashing pattern. Local businesses participated in the two-day event after they learned of Mia’s death.

The only problem is that the sign can cost upwards of $10,000, money the city may not have at the moment.

“Funding is really tough for us right now, but we are very determined to take your funds that you’ve raised to make sure (we do something at that crosswalk,)” Mayor Shari Buck told Terry and Botti. “There are other crosswalks, as we know, throughout the valley where people have difficult times crossing the streets, so we’ll do everything we can to make our crosswalks as safe as we can and do it to honor Mia and kids who have lost their lives.”

One man at the meeting offered to match half of what volunteers had raised, but even that addition will still put the group short of the money needed to get a sign in that location.

Qiong Liu, North Las Vegas public works director, said even with the proposed match donation, the amount would only cover about 20 percent of the cost of the sign. She said the city was exploring less costly options. Another yellow solar-powered sign would have nearly the same effect on the street and would cost $2,000 less, Liu said.

“The challenge is that one location,” Liu said. “It has a unique story behind it, but we have hundreds of similar locations (and we have) to find a way to systematically address all safety concerns. If we talk about one location (we) have to be prepared for the requests of other locations.”

Although the city is working on finding funds for the sign, Liu said, chances are community outreach will make the difference in actually getting it erected.

Last year there were 414 pedestrian accidents in Clark County, 105 of them involving a child between the ages of 1 and 15, according to UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership director Erin Breen.

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