Zionsville students pave the way for safety

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By Zach Manges

A new high-intensity, well-lit crosswalk will finish installation this coming week at Whitestown Park and County Road 700 East.

The original proposal for the crosswalk came from Zionsville West Middle School eighth-graders Theresa Bottorff, Kelsey Merril, Charlize Roe and Amelia Wilkie as part of a U.S. History project on local problems and citizen participation in government. They began by approaching Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton with their plan.

“They wanted safe access to cross one of the busiest thoroughfares in the county to their school. And then there were retail opportunities as well as benefits for the soccer association,” Norton said. “A mixture of Whitestown and Zionsville residents will benefit from the project.”

The project was conceived to provide a way to cross the thoroughfare for the 174 students living in Royal Run who walk or bike to school, as well as patrons shopping in the area.

“Our council was supportive because it was a safety issue. This group of students got together and presented with a problem that needed a remedy,” Norton said. “It’s just something that needed to be done.”

Though the project was started by Zionsville West Middle School students, the crosswalk will also help students at Stonegate Elementary School and Boone Meadow Elementary School, as well as pedestrians heading to nearby outlets like Village Dance Studio, McDonalds, and the upcoming Meijer.

The project is to be completed before the end of the school year so the graduating eighth-graders can see the results of their earlier efforts. Norton emphasizes that the plan resulted from the professionalism and eagerness of the students to make a change, as well as the council itself.

“The students were persistent. They performed very well within the civic process and the elected officials did a great job of responding. We found a way to get it done very efficiently with minimal taxpayer impact,” Norton said. “It was well-planned and in the end will be a great product.”

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