I was privileged to present Black Fox with membership in the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway Network. It was the first time in several years a new trail had been taken into the system. While at the podium, I took the opportunity to poll the 500-plus wide-eyed students seated on the gym floor to ask, “How many of you have ever walked the Greenway?” I was shocked when more than three-fourths of the students’ hands shot up.
The program inside was followed by a ceremonial walk around the 1/3-mile track, which not only belongs to the school, but to the entire Black Fox community.
Black Fox is the second elementary school to become a part of the Greenway Network, joining fellow county school Oak Grove, with their 1/3-mile Freedom Trail. However, all the county schools that have walking trails have been invited to become members. Several have had tracks for a few years, but several others have just recently added them to their campuses.
A lot of the credit for the momentum of adding campus walking trails has come from Bradley County Schools’ Director of Coordinated School Health Andrea Lockerby. Much of the funding, including for the Fox TROT Trail, has come from Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) grants.
The Greenway Network was established a few years ago by the Greenway Board with a purpose statement that says, “To encourage and maintain a system of independent walkways, which will serve the health and well-being of local citizens.” Basically, if you enjoy exercise, but cannot make it to the four-mile Greenway between Willow and Mohawk streets, hopefully there is a Greenway Network trail near you.
The members, in addition to Black Fox and Oak Grove, include the Cleveland Family YMCA, Fletcher Park, Cleveland Middle School, Westwood Baptist, Church of God International Offices and Lee University Schimmels Park.
Greenway Network criteria is simple and mirrors what defines the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway. In a nutshell, it is a place where anyone can feel free to exercise, either through walking, running or biking, in a safe, traffic-free environment.
In addition to the ones already mentioned, the schools that have walking paths on their campuses include Hopewell, Lake Forest Middle, North Lee, Park View, Prospect, Taylor, Valley View, Walker Valley High and Waterville. Even if they are not network members, anyone is welcome to use the public walkways unless otherwise posted.
In addition to the schools, businesses and industries in the county have inquired about incorporating walking tracks into their master plans. We welcome what each of these tracks do, and will bring to our community.