Maryville Woman on Mission For Crosswalks

By: Kelli Parker
By: Kelli Parker

Maryville (WVLT) - So many of us remember a simpler time of life. The days when people left their front doors unlocked and their children walked or even rode their bikes to school. Now, we introduce you to one Maryville mother on a mission to give her children that way of life and those memories as well.

The streets that lead to Sam Houston Elementary School in Maryville are full of noise every morning, but it's not the sound of children walking to school.

"There was so much traffic, not alot of safety precautions, no crossing guards," Flower Hulihin said.

But Flower Hulihin wanted more for her children. She longed to see them walk home from school.

"I found parents who are driving their kids. I'm guilty of that even though I live a block and half away from the school because I didn't feel it was safe to walk to school," Hulihin said.
So she turned to her computer.

"I found Safe Route to School on the Internet," Hulihin said.

It's a grant program which will give the schools more than $200,000 to pave a new way for this community. Flower took the idea to city leaders and together they got the grant.

"With in a year we'll have a network of sidewalks, crosswalks signals, so that encourages children to walk and ride bikes to go to school," Maryville community planner Tom Weitnauer said.

And encourages school leaders to educate their children to be street smart.

"Pedestrian safety, bike safety stranger danger things along those lines," Sam Houston Elementary principal Scott Blevins said.

"I think it's going to be phenomenal for the children and parents to be educated on walking to school," Hulihin said.

For flower, it's the promise of a different life for her children.

"I envision it to be a wonder thing," Hulihin said.

And an accomplishment that proves the power of one can make a difference.

"Something children will pass on to their children and say I remember when I used to walk to school," Hulihin said.

The construction phase of the Safe Route to School project will likely get underway in the next 5 months and should take about 5 more months to complete.


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