New sidewalks pump up Walk to School Day

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Across the Lowcountry, kids ditched the school bus and said hello to the sidewalks. Wednesday marks the annual South Carolina Walk to School Day.

It's an event with a goal of getting kids up and moving and teaching them the importance of health and wellness.

The program is part of the Safe Routes to School movement. Charleston County leaders say the county's transportation sales tax program is helping more students participate this year. County officials say funds from the transportation sales tax paid for additional sidewalks near area schools for kids to use.

In a statement, the Charleston County Council said{}it typically allocates $500,000 annually from the Transportation Sales Tax Program to improve pedestrian and bicycle access for the community.

Some notable projects and the schools that directly benefited:

  • Dorchester Rd. sidewalk by Edmund A. Burns Elementary School in North Charleston
  • Fort Johnson Rd. sidewalk by James Island Charter High School on James Island
  • Rifle Range Rd. sidewalk by Sullivan's Island Elementary School, temporarily located on Rifle Range Rd. in Mount Pleasant
  • Carner Avenue sidewalk by Military Magnet Academy in North Charleston
  • Grimball Rd. sidewalk by James Island Elementary School on James Island
  • S. Antler Drive and Otranto Rd. sidewalk by Northwoods Academy in North Charleston
  • Edwards St. sidewalk by Coastal Christian Preparatory School in Mount Pleasant.

But one school in the Lowcountry does not have easy access for kids to walk to school. Minnie Hughes Elementary is located in a rural area in Hollywood. School officials say they are not letting their challenges stop them from showing kids the power of exercise.

"We are out here in the rural area so many of our students live far away and have far distances to travel so we modified the event so we can still participate," Minnie Hughes Elementary employee, Ashland Temoney says. "The students will not walk to school but when they arrive at school we will start to walk around the premises over and over again."

The school is calling it Walk At School day rather than Walk To School day.

"We wanted to make sure that we participated and kids are going to be very excited about it," Temoney said. "When they see other schools participating, we wanted to be a part of that as well, and we knew we couldn't do it like other schools but we wanted to give kids the exposure that we could do things here as well."