Starting Tuesday, getting to school will be a little easier for students living near Patronis Elementary. For years brush and weeds blocked access to the school, but with the help of a county project they can now ride or walk without any problems.
Residents in the surrounding communities like the Hidden Pines neighborhood had to exit out to Laird Street, go out to Thomas Drive and drive about three miles just to reach Patronis.
However, that issue was resolved with the help of the Florida Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School Program.
Bay County's Traffic Engineering Manager Keith Bryant says that to get to today, a lot of work was exerted. "We had to obtain the property. Once we obtained it, we had to clean it out. We then had a great design build team come out here and construct the facility."
The less than a mile long pathway that begins at Summer Oak Drive and finishes at Hidden Island Drive features a wooden bridge, 12 benches, and a crosswalk for students to access the school. The total cost of the project, $288,023.
"Hopefully it will allow the parents the time to meet their kids after school or take them to school and walk with them. A lot of time can be spent out here that can help every body," Commissioner Mike Thomas said.
Brooke Loyd, Patronis Elementary Assistant Principal, is very excited to for the future. "We have our bike racks ready and so they can just park and get to school safely."
The path has already been open to the public, however Tuesday marks the first day students will be able to ride up to the school gates.