A group of Zionsville West Middle School students were tired of not having a safe way to cross Whitestown Parkway so they could walk to school.
Wanting to see a change, Theresa Bottorff, Kelsey Merrill, Charlize Roe and Amelia Wilkie took matters into their own hands and are urging local officials to look into installing a crosswalk at Whitestown Parkway and CR 700 E.“It started as a project in our history class to become more active citizens in our state or town,” Bottorff said. “We didn’t expect it to get this far.”The students appeared before the Whitestown Town Council Tuesday night, Jan. 14, and were surprised when the council fully supported the idea and set aside $50,000 to show their support.“When they said they would support it, it was just like ‘Really?’” Bottorff said. “We never thought it’d get this far, but we were going to try.”The students made quite the case to the council, saying that 174 ZWMS students live in Royal Run and cannot walk to school, the Boys and Girls Club or other nearby business, such as McDonald’s.“It’s important to have a crosswalk because not everyone can get around in a vehicle,” Bottorff said. “We can’t just go everywhere like visit with our friends, pick up groceries for our parents, or things like that. Plus the more pathways and sidewalks we have, the fewer cars we have on the road.”What the students didn’t realize was that Whitestown officials were having internal discussions about ways to connect the businesses and developments on both sides of Whitestown Parkway.“There are some people that are in favor of having a bridge,” Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said. “We do have Whitestown residents in Maple Grove and the new apartments that would certainly like to have a way to walk to those businesses.”Norton said it seemed like a great idea to work with Zionsville in trying to put a pathway from Whitestown Parkway to ZWMS.