Bright at the End of the Tunnel

Haldane students painted murals inside the formerly dreary pedestrian tunnel beneath the Metro-North tracks in Cold Spring. (Photo by M. Turton)

Haldane students transform dreary walkway

Pedestrians traversing the tunnel beneath the Metro-North railroad tracks in Cold Spring may feel a bit cheerier now as the result of a project of the Haldane Middle School’s Discover, Create and Innovate Program.

On Sunday (Nov. 3), more than a dozen students painted murals in the tunnel, the culmination of a two-year effort.

The south wall now reads “Cold Spring, NY” in brilliant bubble letters, while the north mural includes an array of equally bright shapes and patterns.

Heidi Gesson, a seventh-grade teacher and Discover, Create and Innovate leader, said a group of students who are now high-school sophomores conceived of the project in 2017 because they felt “the Cold Spring tunnel was an area that needed a makeover.”

Gesson said Discover, Create and Innovate students in grades 6, 7 and 8 use their passions, including art, “to make a difference in their community.”

The students initially met on site with Cold Spring Mayor Dave Merandy, who supported the project. They also built a scale model of the tunnel, created the mural designs, researched the type and quantity of paint needed and presented their ideas to the Village Board for approval. Students also created advertising posters and solicited a donation of materials from C&E Paints in Cold Spring.

The tunnel was closed to pedestrians on Sunday so the students to complete the work in a single afternoon.

Seventh-grader Emilia Cardoso said she realized such projects may cause conflict.” It’s hard when not everyone agrees on a new change for the town,” she said. “I know some people were against us painting the tunnel, but we worked through that.”

The value of teamwork was also evident. “It’s better to work together than alone,” observed Christopher Coronel, 12. “In the first half hour we finished one coat of one wall!”

Nico Lagerman, 11, added he wasn’t intimidated by the scope of work. “I learned how to jump into a big project I had no knowledge of and finish it,” he said.

Gesson said she is open to similar projects in the future. “It was such a wonderful experience for the students to plan and execute,” she said.

Photos by Michael Turton

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