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Newly-renovated tunnel makes it safer for kids to walk to school

MADISON (WKOW) — The Hawthorne community is encouraging kids to walk to school with a newly-renovated tunnel.

On Tuesday, Healthy Kids Collaborative, students, families and other community leaders gathered at Hawthorne Elementary School to reveal the tunnel, which is meant to make kids who walk or bike to school safer.

Previously, kids who walked or biked to Hawthorne Elementary School had to cross six lanes of heavy traffic on East Washington Avenue. The city had built a tunnel in the 1970s to make crossing the busy street safer, but students and neighbors complained it was dirty, dark and scary for students. Many people avoided using it.

Ericka Brown, an Hawthorne Elementary Community Schools Coordinator said she’s looking forward to students using the newly-renovated tunnel.

“The community has worked hard to make it brighter and more fun. Some students will even see their faces in the images throughout the tunnel!” Brown said.

The tunnel features artwork by students of signature neighborhood buildings, children in motion, and giant flowers and animals. The neighborhood came together for two days in September to paint the tunnel.

Courtesy: Dane Arts Mural Arts

The City of Madison Planning grant, a City of Madison Community Arts grant, the Capital Times Kids Fund, the Willy Street Coop Reinvestment Fund, Hawthorne Community School, and the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association all helped fund the project.

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