Eighth-grade class project could spark real change in Boone County

Students will go before Zionsville council Monday

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. - An eighth-grade class project could evolve into a half-million dollar construction project in Boone County because of the hard work of four middle-school students.

Tim Yovanovich is a social studies teacher at Zonsville West Middle School. He created a civic project to give his students some real-life experience, but what has happened since has really surprised him.

"This is my 17th year of teaching and I've never seen anything like this, where there's actually, where they're getting movement on a public issue," Yovanovich said.

Amelia Wilkie and three classmates think it's too dangerous to cross Whitestown Parkway from the Royal Run neighborhood to get to their school, so they set out to change that, asking that sidewalks and a crosswalk be built in that area.

"We collected information and made a white paper and we sent it to the people to review it and then we set up a date to go to the town council meeting," Wilkie said.

That meeting was two weeks ago in Whitestown.

"They got on our agenda on the 14th of January and came in and gave a great presentation," Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said.

It was so great, that Whitestown and Zionsville are coming together to try and find a solution. The issue had been discussed before, but now there's an extra push.

"I mean the girls did great, there are four girls doing it and they just knocked this one out of the park, and they did all the work." Yovanovich said.

Wilkie calls it annoying and dangerous that there are no sidewalks in the area and she's excited at what they've accomplished with their class project.

"Well they're going to build a sidewalk ... we're making it a safer area to live in," Wilkie said.

Although it's not yet a done deal, it looks promising that the girls will not only get their sidewalks, but something even better.

"The students originally wanted a crosswalk on the surface. We think the safer route is to do an actual bridge up and over Whitestown Parkway," Norton said.

The bridge comes at a price tag of likely more than half a million dollars. The girls will go before the Zionsville Town Council on Monday.

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