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Sights on safety: HRDC presents survey results in Blackduck

Crosswalks, flashing signs and more sidewalks are enhancements that could be seen in the city of Blackduck within the next few years.

Ryan Zemek, economic development director of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, presented the results of a survey and discussed the next steps in the Safe Routes to School program in the Blackduck High School media center on Feb. 27.

The HRDC presented the program to the Blackduck community in October and has since researched the area with the help of Community Facilitator Ryan Grow and Superintendent Wally Schoeb.

The survey was distributed to parents with children in Blackduck Public Schools and inquired how students got to school and how parents felt about their children walking or biking. The survey had 54 parents respond.

Of those who participated, 31 of them answered that their children take the bus to school and 16 come and go via family vehicle. The survey had 46 of the respondents live more than two miles away from the school.

The survey also asked parents what was preventing them from allowing their children to walk or bike to school. The most popular answers were distance, weather and the next up was violence or crime.

Other issues that parents responded with that Zemek noted something could be done about include the lack of crossing guards, safety of intersections and crossings, and amount and speed of traffic.

Zemek’s presentation listed the three major issues of students getting to school safely and the first was cold and snow, then safety around school and finally distance.

Grow suggested that the crossings on Highway 71 could be marked better. The issue of Highway 71 was brought up at the first meeting for Safe Routes to School, which was held in Oct.

Another issue discussed was the safety of students after school around the bus pick-up area.

“It seems like there are a lot of parents picking up their kids for such a small school district,” said Zemek, who also suggested moving the location where parent pick up their children from.

At the next meeting, Zemek hopes to have a plan in place with input from the Blackduck community. The meeting will be held sometime in March. An exact date hasn’t been set.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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