theo cheevers 071015 1Theo Cheevers at Church Street and Rumson Road, site of a recent sidewalk reconstruction. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


donegoodlogoWhere exactly in Little Silver are there sidewalks, and what condition are they in? How might crosswalks be improved?

A young borough man has decided to tackle those questions this summer. And while the effort sounds, um, pedestrian, local government officials are looking forward to his findings.

Sixteen-year-old Theo Cheevers, who’s about to enter his junior year at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology on Sandy Hook, proposed the project to the borough council earlier this month in fulfillment of his National Honor Society requirement for community service.

He plans to visit every street and compile information on walkways using standards used in civil engineering. He’ll “build a report,” he said, that also includes annotated maps and suggestion for possible improvements.

“This may be a trouble area for crossing the streeet,” he noted while out with redbankgreen earlier this month at the intersection of Rumson Road and Church Street, which was in the process of getting new sidewalks. “If I feel some areas need improvement, I’ll note that in my report.”

Mayor Bob Neff said he “would not have expected” a student to come up with a project such as this one, but noted that Cheevers is not a complete stranger to the workings of borough hall. Back when he was in eighth grade at the Markham Place School, Cheevers served as borough mayor on student government day, Neff noted.

“I envision a comprehensive look at where our sidewalks are,” Neff said. The report “perhaps will help us identify where we can do better” for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, he said.

“I thought it would be useful information for the borough to have for internal communication” between departments, Cheevers said. It might also be useful in applying for grants, he noted.

Borough officials agreed, and offered to outfit him with a yellow safety vest.

“This is an ambitious project for you to take on,” Councilman Dane Mihlon told Cheevers. “This is outstanding.” Mihlon asked that Mihlon return to the council to give an oral report on his findings, and Cheevers agreed.