It’s a high priority that planners had originally hoped to attain in December, but a wet fall and winter season that began as early as Labor Day has delayed its completion.
“No one anticipated the amount of rain we received last fall,” Fisher, an avid runner and frequent Greenway user, said. “After a completely dry August where respectable progress was made on Phase 5, the bottom fell out.”
Too, additional rainfalls were tough on work that had already been completed.
“There were several days of progress that were washed away, especially under the Raider Drive bridge, which had to be re-done,” he offered. “Then there was another gully-washer. These warm-weather weeks that were lost gave way to cooler, wet-weather weeks until we got to freezing temperatures which does not dry the ground.”
The contractor has been given a specific number of days to complete the task which has been given some flexibility because of the uncooperative weather.
“Another factor is that the asphalt companies basically shut down for the winter months, so even if the contractor was able to get the Tinsley Trail portion prepped and ready, they would have to work with that timing,” Fisher explained.
Given the cantankerous attitude of Mother Nature since September, Fisher said the Greenway board is realistically looking at completion of Phase 5 in April.
“The biggest factor will be the mood of Mother Nature,” he cited. “The contractor is eager to get it finished and is well aware of the expectation of the community.”
Like many of the Greenway’s regular users — runners, walkers, skaters and cyclists — Fisher said he is personally eager to have the entire stretch of trail available in order to enjoy the end-to-end user experience.
“I can’t wait to be able to do that,” he stressed. Others have told him the same.
As important as Phase 5 completion is to the Greenway’s current and future status, the board — comprised of community volunteers and local government representatives — has identified 10 goals for 2012.
Fisher listed them as “in no particular order.” The 10 include:
1. Completion of Phase 5: “This is going to be easiest goal to reach because we are nearly there. The front and back ends are finished and it’s just a matter of time until the Tinsley Park trail dries enough to be able to pour concrete and lay asphalt. Completion of this phase will also involve cleanup and enhancements such as new tree planting which is scheduled for this spring.”
2. Placement of distance markers: “With an uninterrupted stretch of four miles of Greenway, we can now seriously consider permanent distance markers between Mohawk Drive and Willow Street. It is unclear what form these will take, but many have expressed the need for quarter-mile increments.”
3. Enhancement of Mohawk Drive trailhead: “With the opening of Phase 5, this new parking area will only become more active. The area surrounding it is in need of a good facelift and upgrade.”
4. Lights on Phase 4: “This was on the Greenway’s Christmas Wish List. With a bit more financial help, there will soon be light poles between Mohawk Drive to Tinsley Park.”
5. Clear direction for Phase 6: “It’s no secret that the plan of the Greenway is to go from the current terminus on Willow Street to the Village Green Town Center. In 2012, it will be critical to identify if, how and when the southern extension will take place.”
6. Apply for grants: “The Greenway has been fortunate to receive grants from the state of Tennessee and the local Healthy Community Initiative. Perhaps Phase 6 plans will affect these grant applications.”
7. Greenway calendar: “The need is great for a comprehensive online Greenway calendar which lists events such as fundraisers, races, cleanup days, planting days and other items of interest.”
8. Establishment of habitats: “In 2011, a section of our Greenway was designated an Urban Wildlife Habitat. The Tinsley Park section could qualify for this designation as well. There is also ample area to provide shelters (such as birdhouses) for birds and other wildlife along the Greenway.”
9. Completion of Tinsley Park upgrade: “Another of the Christmas wishes is for an upgrade of playground, picnic and restroom facilities at Tinsley Park adjacent to Phase 5 of the Greenway. I have learned from Cleveland Parks & Recreation Director Patti Petitt that the project has been put out to bid and will commence sometime this spring.”
10. Identification of a third restroom location: “In an ongoing effort to enhance the Greenway experience, restroom facilities are critical. The process of identifying a location for a third restroom will be a priority. Securing funding for it would be a pleasant addition to this goal for 2012.”
Of the 10 goals for 2012, Fisher described the entire set as being “achievable this year.” And, the Greenway board is amenable to adding even more for the year as ideas are developed.
“There has already been some positive movement on the Phase 4 lighting for the stretch from Mohawk Drive to Tinsley Park, as well as discussion on the distance markers and an online Greenway calendar,” Fisher said. “We have added the identification of 34 species of trees as part of the progress of 2012 and establishment of additional habitats.”
Each of the year’s objectives is important to the Greenway board; however, Fisher said in his opinion, “The biggest and most important is a decision on where the Greenway goes south from Willow Street. It has been discussed for years and there are some challenges in that quarter-mile stretch.”
He added, “Many have been interested in the progress of this section. I believe it’s time that the parties come together and see if getting to Inman Street is something that can really happen.”
The Greenway in 2011 celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Potential Greenway donors — whether of a financial, professional services or volunteer capacity, or those with ideas — may contact Fisher or any board member in person or through the Greenway website.