Partnerships and enhancement to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway were celebrated Thursday with a ribbon cutting at the newly completed Raider Drive park bathroom.
People for Care and Learning spearheaded the project partnering with United Way of Bradley County, individual monetary donors and donors of time and materials.
“I can’t say enough about People for Care and Learning,” Greenway board chairman Cameron Fisher said.
Fisher pointed since 2008 the organization has strived to impact the local community in addition to their projects in Southeast Asia.
“It started out with a two-bench mini-park that he (PCL executive director Fred Garmon) dedicated to a former director and the founder,” Fisher said.
PCL’s involvement went on to include the Raider Drive playground.
The recent project includes more than just a more conveniently located restroom for the playground.
“This is not just sticking a restroom out here and putting a sidewalk to it,” Fisher said. “Fred had a vision to come in here and do a lot more than that.”
This included landscaping and the addition of a Born Learning Trail.
Rocks were stacked, grass sown and trees planted to enhance the area.
The Born Learning Trail circles the playground.
“The United Way has donated the Born Learning Trail, which is a sidewalk trail for children five years and younger, for children and parents to come and do 10 different exercises with their kids. And, to encourage parents and children to be involved,” Garmon said.
Each of the 10 stations will have a different icon etched in the sidewalk. One features hopscotch. Another has the letters of the alphabet.
Sarah Haratine of United Way said the stations emphasize ways that parents can help their children get ready for school.
Mayor Tom Rowland thanked the private organizations for making the enhancements to the linear park possible.
“What a great partnership this has been,” Rowland said.
While the Greenway is a joint project of the city, county enhancements to the areas surrounding the pavement are only made possible by private organizations, said Mayor D. Gary Davis.
“It’s a great thing that we can all be proud of,” Davis said.
Garmon said he hoped that PCL’s work on the Greenway would encourage others to get involved. He said he was thankful for the opportunity for PCL to be a part of the Greenway.
“One of our goals is to continue this,” Garmon said.
He commented that the Church of God International Offices have already donated land for a restroom. Garmon said work should begin on that project in the spring.
Men and Women of Action donated labor to complete the project. Caldwell Paving and Concrete Art also contributed.
Individual donors giving $500 or more to the project will be recognized by having their name or company logo etched in the sidewalk near the bathrooms.
Electricity run to the bathrooms has been extended into the field near the playground, making it possible for sound systems to be plugged in there in the future.
Garmon said the set up would make concerts possible on the site.
“This is already becoming one of the grand places on the Greenway,” Garmon said.
Garmon said continued projects will continue to enhance the area.