DENVER - Every school deals with student absences and tardiness. A principal in North Denver and people in that community says the solution at one school is a taxpayer-funded, $12 million bridge.
Alicia Perez could use it. Every day, she and her 4-year old son Jacob walk down 47th Avenue, then make a right onto York Street, before stopping at train tracks.
“It’s hard for the parents and for the kids it's a dangerous situation for them to be here with so many cars and be waiting here for the train, “said Perez.
She says the wait, is long.
“If the train is here its stopped for 30 minutes, even an hour,” said Perez.
Swansea Elementary Principal Gilberto Munoz, has been heading the school for seven years. He says, “This has been a very sore subject for many years.”
Munoz says the train on the track causes kids to miss out, on a lot.
“Attendance and tardiness are a huge factor to kid's achievement if they are not here they are not learning,” said Principal Munoz.
Anna Jones, Exec. Director of the North Denver Corner Stone Collaborative, which is aimed at helping North Denver communities, says putting a bridge in the area has been a top priority.
“I think the timing is right I think the plants are aligned and I hope that we can find our funding to fund this project,” said Jones.
The bridge will cost $12 million, and CDOT has put up a few million of that, but the community is hoping taxpayers will fund the rest so they can proceed.
“We don’t want to hold anything back based on funding, said Jones.
Munoz says the kids try and make it on time, sometimes with big risk.
“In the past kids have tried to cross between cars while the train is stopped, which is dangerous because the train can move without warning,” said Munoz.
“When its stopped completely they just cross over it and sometimes it’s not stopped completely you're risking yourself, so it's a very dangerous situation,” said Perez.
Parents have 280 signatures on a petition for the bridge, and even though money is still an issue the only thing this mother wants is to know her kid and others can make it across with worry.
“I know it is expensive to build a bridge but it will really benefit our kids and the families, us parents we would feel safe with that bridge,” said Perez.
City leaders are still deciding whether the pedestrian bridge will be part of the bond program put before voters in November.
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