Safe Routes to School

In the Bowling Green City School District some students might be taking a new path to school this year.

Tony Harkins is coordinating the Safe Routes to School program for McNeill Elementary.

Tony says: "I think it's relatively safe, but I think it's more to help the parents feel it's safe by having adults accompany the kids."

The Greenways Commission was recently awarded $196,000 for the Safe Routes to School program. It encourages children who live close to school to walk or bike.

The majority of the funds will be used to make structural improvements.
Helen Siewers, with the Greenways Commission, says: "A little over 60 percent of the total budget is earmarked for actually, we call it bricks and mortar, maybe it's a sidewalk, maybe it's bike racks, different kinds of improvements at different schools."

The remainder of the money will go toward education and outreach programs.

The Greenways Commission has also handed out armbands to make the kids more visible to motorists. Helen says: "Children can wear them. It just helps with the visual, especially during the morning and evening hours."

As for Tony, he says some of the parents at McNeill wished they lived closer to the school, so their children could participate. He says: "I think it gives them more energy and I think it's also good for their self esteem and self confidence that they're not just depending on mom or dad to schlep them in the car, but they're actually doing it themselves somewhat."

The grant allows the Greenways Commission to work with all five of the Bowling Green City Elementary Schools.

The funds for structural improvements will be available on October 1st.

Helen says some of the schools already have volunteers for the walking school buses. She says they may wait a week or two before beginning that program, so the kids can settle into their routines.

For more information about the program you can log onto You can contact Lisa Houchin with the Barren River District Health Department at (270) 781-8039 ext. 130, or Helen Siewers, the Greenways Coordinator, at (270) 842-1953 ext. 128.