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Historic pedestrian tunnel in Greensboro revitalized

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A pedestrian tunnel in Greensboro's historic Aycock neighborhood was not sending the message locals wanted about their community.

"It's been a lot of things," said Aycock resident Bert Vanderveen. "It's been a scary dark tunnel, it's been a bright tunnel that's just utilitarian, it's been covered in graffiti."

So locals got together and secured Municipal Service District funds to change that.

"We changed our thinking," said Aycock resident Betsey Horth. "What if we made [the tunnel] a destination?"

Fourteen artists applied to paint a mural on the inside of the tunnel and locals chose Darlene McClinton, a professor at North Carolina A&T University, who also grew up in the neighborhood. McClinton, along with A&T students, have been painting the tunnel for a couple months and it should be complete soon.

"This neighborhood is one of the coolest neighborhoods I've seen in Greensboro," McClinton said. She believes her mural was chosen because it reflects the historic, yet artistic vibe in Aycock. Plus, it brings life and bold color to a previously bland space.

"I know that I wanted to use the color yellow because it just naturally gives a lift," she said.

The murals include images of children riding bicycles, playing on swings and carrying balloons. McClinton says that reflects the active nature of the families living in Aycock. The walls will also be painted with firemen, police officers, businessmen and businesswomen and nurses. McClinton hopes that will inspire young kids who use the tunnel to dream big about their career plans.

The tunnel will also receive LED lights and landscaping at its entrance and exit. In total, the project cost Aycock taxpayers about $50,000.