Community leaders celebrated growth of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway from Mohawk Drive to Village Green Drive with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
The trail goes under the Mohawk Drive bridge and on toward two neighborhoods in the area. Concrete work on the paved trail was completed Wednesday. Lights will be installed by Cleveland Utilities in the near future.
Representatives from the Cleveland City Council, Bradley County Commission, Healthy Community Initiative, Public Works and the Bennett family took part in the ceremonies.
“It’s rewarding ... It’s another example of partnership among the city and the county ... they have always been able to agree on,” Greenway Board chairman Cameron Fisher said.
Funding from the city of Cleveland and the Bradley County Commission Healthy Community Initiative and a land donation from Nancy and Andrew Bennett made the project possible.
“They had the foresight and the knowledge to know that we can’t go any further without the property,” Fisher said. “They donated a 7-acre tract to the city with the expressed purpose of extending the Greenway.”
The couple donated property adjacent to the Mohawk trailhead behind The Home Depot.
“I am just absolutely happy that the community will get to walk the Greenway a little further. It’s an opportunity for everybody, and I think that is great,” Nancy Bennett said. “They have done a great job with coming in here, paving and getting this thing moving.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland thanked the Bennett family for making the extension possible.
“This is one if the quality-of-life things in our community that makes out community a great place to live in,” Rowland said.
Fisher said at least 50 families will now have direct access to the Greenway.
“We would love to connect with more neighborhoods up there as neighbors allow us to do so,” Fisher said.
Legislative assistant to the County Commission Lorri Moultrie, who spoke on behalf of the HCI committee, said the committee has been a part of the Greenway since the beginning by approving grants.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the Greenway is one project both county and city officials have always been willing to support.
He said the Greenway Board has done well developing the linear park into what it is today.
Councilman At-Large George Poe said the first time he met the governor after joining the Cleveland City Council was to accept a donation for the Greenway.
“It really has been an asset to Cleveland,” Poe said. “Its something great to have.”
Poe said he knows a lot of local residents have begun using the Greenway as a way to get from one place to another rather than exclusively as a recreational venue.
“I feel like this has been a great asset to the county that we have an ever-growing number of people who take part in this,” Commissioner Terry Caywood said.
The ultimate goal is to have the Greenway stretch from The Village Green Town Center to the Hiwassee River.