Bus shelter

Florence District 4 City Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks talks with resident Wesley Thompson at the future location of a bus shelter for Florence City Schools students at the Hermitage-Helton Drive intersection. Thompson suggested the idea to Eubanks after seeing children waiting for a school bus at the location. [BERNIE DELINSKI/TIMESDAILY]

FLORENCE — It was a daily scene for Wesley Thompson as he drove his son to Hibbett Middle School.

While driving along Hermitage Drive near the intersection of Helton Drive, Thompson would notice Florence City Schools students standing alongside the road waiting for the school bus.

"I would pass by here while taking my son to school and I'd see the kids out here," he said. "I want the kids to be safe. I want them to be well and I don't want them out in the rain."

So, Thompson discussed it with District 4 City Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks, whose district includes that area.

That launched a movement for a bus shelter at the location. Today, construction is well underway for the shelter.

On Tuesday, Thompson said he is comforted just by seeing that it is being built.

"The kids will be in there instead of being in the road," he said. "It really feels great to see it."

The project is being done through a Planning Department project from a city Community Development Block Grant, Eubanks said.

The shelter is being built near the entrance of South Oaks Village apartment complex.

"Once it's finished, it'll be the apartment handling the upkeep of it, and they said they are willing to do it, which speaks well of them," Eubanks said.

She said buses take children to various city schools, starting daily with the youngest age groups first and moving up to the older students.

"This will shelter between a dozen to 15 kids at any time," Eubanks said. "The parents will be able to know that they're not in the elements. This was a community effort. We all came together."

Thompson said he has seen vehicles lined down the street on rainy days while awaiting the bus because the parents don't want to leave their children in the rain.

Eubanks said she does not know whether additional shelters will be built at other bus stop locations.

"That would be up to the Planning Department for grants and the school system to say where some of the greatest needs are," she said.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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