Groveland and the Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School was honored by the state’s Safe Routes to School Program in a ceremony last week recognizing improved pedestrian and bicycle safety efforts along Route 97.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation offers awards to partner schools, community champions and crossing guards in their efforts to allow and encourage students to safely walk, bike, and roll to school. The town and school were presented with the 2021 Exemplary Program Award for the northeast region.
“Our student families and community called for this change, and it was by working together and with the town we’ve been able to make this area far safer for students traveling to and from school. Well done to each and every person involved. It took tremendous work to push this through along with all of the other challenges we faced this year,” said Pentucket Regional School Superintendent Justin Bartholomew.
Last year, Groveland was awarded a $29,590 grant from the transportation department’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program to improve road safety in the area of the Bagnall School and Route 97, School Street, that included education and installation of a pedestrian-activated rapid flashing beacon at the intersection of Ashcroft and School Street, reflective strips on crosswalk signage and new warning signage and pavement markings.
Since last summer, interim Bagnall Principal Jim Day, Groveland Director of Economic Development, Planning and Conservation Rebecca Oldham, Police Detective Josh Sindoni and Bagnall parents worked to identify opportunities to improve safety for students as they travel to and from school. School Street runs from the Haverhill city line through Groveland center to the Georgetown town line.
The Safe Routes to School Group, a volunteer group including two parent volunteers, Sarah Martinez and Kim Schnepel, school nurse Amanda Durand, as well as school administration and staff, surveyed the area to note needed changes to better promote safety.
During the online ceremony, the Nikki Tishler Memorial Award was also presented to Betsy Goodrich and Elecia Miller, of the Mayor’s Health Task Force in Lawrence. The award is given in memory of Nikki Tishler, who served as the state’s Safe Routes to school coordinator to those making the extra efforts to ensure successful and effective programs.