Hominy Valley Safe Routes to School
Hominy Valley Elementary students and parents will walk to school on Wednesday, October 8 in the school’s fourth “Safe Routes to School” event. In recognition of the school’s successful Safe Routes program, the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) chose Hominy Valley Elementary as the featured Safe Routes school—out of 128 participating schools. Student walkers will receive a t-shirt and will be entered in a drawing to win a Schwinn bicycle. NCDOT Safe Routes to School Director, Ed Johnson, Nancy Pullen-Seufert from the National Center for Safe Routes to School, as well as several elected officials will join the kids as they walk to school.
Garrett Artz, a Hominy Valley parent of three students and the driving force behind the school’s Safe Routes initiative, organized the first activity in May 2013 with a bike-to-school event that included 40 students and local Olympic cyclist, Lauren Tamayo. A second bike-to-school activity in October 2013 drew 35 students. In May 2014, 52 students participated, and the event was covered by WLOS TV news correspondent, Jason Boyer.
According to Artz, “This is really about fun for the kids. They love getting up and getting themselves to school. It doesn’t hurt that walking or biking to school is good for their health, has been shown to improve their focus and school performance, reduces traffic congestion and pollution around the school, and gives their families time to spend with one another.”
Parents, school administrators, and elected officials have been working with NCDOT to upgrade the traffic light at the school’s entrance on Enka Lake Road to a pedestrian-activated light and crosswalk. This improvement would provide students in the surrounding areas with a safe zone to walk or bike to school regularly without relying on law enforcement officials to manually direct traffic.
The Oct. 8 event will kick-off a campaign to raise $8,500.00 dollars that will be applied as a match to leverage $25,000.00 in NCDOT funds allocated for the project. If the fundraising effort is successful, construction is will commence and is expected to be complete by late spring 2015.
The Hominy Valley Safe Routes to School program has partnered with Friends of Connect Buncombe, a 501(c)(3) non-profit greenways advocacy group, to raise the funds for the enhanced traffic crossing. If you would like to contribute to the fundraising effort, please mail donations to Friends of Connect Buncombe, Inc., P.O. Box 16100, Asheville, NC 28816. Please write “Hominy Valley Safe Routes to School Project” on the memo line. You may also hand-deliver contributions to Hominy Valley Elementary School located at 450 Enka Lake Road, Candler, NC 28715.
If you would like to join the student walkers on Wednesday, October 8, meet at the Biltmore Lake tennis courts at 7:00 a.m. or at the Hominy Valley Sports Park in the lot above the pool at 7:20 a.m.
For more information, please contact parent organizer Garrett Artz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-451-9452. Follow Hominy Valley Safe Routes to School on Facebook for further updates.