A state grant awarded to the Rossville Consolidated School District this week will help to enact a plan for safer routes to school.
Director of Healthy Communities of Clinton County Carol Price, who facilitated the grant process, announced that the Rossville Consolidated School District received a $64,550 Indiana Department of Transportation non-infrastructure grant to improve the routes within two miles of the school. Price said the grant will encourage educational opportunities to increase walking or biking to school and work with engineers to develop a safe routes construction plan.
Price said she felt this grant is vital for the Rossville Schools because it is located in between two highways: U.S. Highway 421 and State Road 26.
“It’s hard for parents to feel it’s safe for their kids to walk to school,” Price said.
The Community Schools of Frankfort received the same grant last year and used to funds for events to promote walking to school including the National Walk and Bike to School Day.
According to Price, in the 1970s and 1980s, about 60 to 70 percent of students walked to school and now only about 10 percent walk to school. She said the lack of exercise is a direct correlation with childhood obesity, which she said, makes up about 30 percent of the children in Indiana.
“This will be the first generation whose life expectancy is less than their parents if we don’t make changes,” she said.
Rossville schools Superintendent Jim Hanna said they plan on offering a pedestrian and bicycle safety training program for students. He said he also knows that he’d like to establish a portable speed trailer to make drivers aware of how fast they are going.
“It’s an overall strategy to introduce a healthy lifestyle and make students aware of the opportunity to walk or bike to school,” Hanna said.
Hanna said he will meet with his safe routes committee to plan the next steps to examine the current walkways to school and implement the safety plan.