Greenway users know our message; non-users have yet to discover this blessed opportunity.
We speak of the unofficial completion of Phase 5 of the fitness trail which physically connected two existing stretches of path on either side of Raider Drive. Previously, Greenway users — walkers, runners, bicyclists, roller skaters and skateboarders — had been segregated into those of the north and their neighbors to the south. This has now changed.
The pair of geographically divided stretches of asphalt and concrete are now one. The new underpass beneath Raider Drive has been completed, another pedestrian bridge now spans Mouse Creek, additional stretches of cement have been poured and the existing Tinsley Park trail has been layered in asphalt. What previously had been two strips of trail of less than two miles each have now been combined. Our community’s beautiful linear park is now four miles of uninterrupted exercise and recreation opportunity.
The southern stretch from Willow Street to Raider Drive is now physically connected to its northern neighbor that had spanned the distance between Mohawk Drive behind The Home Depot and Mouse Creek Road to Tinsley Park. The paving of the old Tinsley trail and the layering of a new path behind Cleveland High School’s Benny Monroe Stadium, and beyond, has created the four-mile dream-come-true.
In today’s age of obesity, cardiovascular disease and high-stress employment, communities crave such opportunities. Many lack the corporate commitment, the local government involvement, the business partnerships, the landowner goodwill and the volunteer eagerness to plan, design, fund and construct such splendid facilities.
Our Cleveland and Bradley County community is one such entity that has enjoyed the spirit of cooperation that has made such achievements possible. But then, such accomplishments should come as no surprise. Indeed, we are “The City With Spirit,” and this conviction has served as the launchpad for a community enhancement that has already served thousands, and undoubtedly will provide exercise, recreation and improved health for hundreds of thousands more in years to come.
Another strength of our stretched linear park is its practicality.
Not everyone drives a vehicle. Some ride bikes to arrive at their destinations. Others walk. Yes, even in 2012, some people still walk from Point A to Point B, and sometimes even C, D, E and beyond. Thanks to the Greenway, residents in many areas of north Cleveland can walk safely to the downtown district — and vice versa — without worries about damaged or missing sidewalks, exposure to toxic carbon monoxide fumes from passing motorists or street crossings and median cuts that pose obvious hazards to unsuspecting pedestrians.
The Greenway is inarguably one of the finest examples of working partnerships to benefit a common cause — people.
Visionaries and willing volunteers gave their time, talents and legwork to keep the momentum growing.
Amiable landowners provided right of way agreements that allowed the Greenway to move ahead.
Local government leaders offered insight, influence, professionalism and in-house resources to keep the project on course.
Businesses, civic organizations, churches, families and individuals gave financial support and in-kind donations to match state and federal grants that were used to buy the materials, pay the labor and feed the dream.
Contractors offered fair quotes and best pricing that served the community good.
It was a true team effort.
Four miles of Greenway have come by no accident. Such an achievement points to a decade of commitment, hard work and perseverance.
When the Phase 5 ribbon is cut, the simple stroke of a pair of scissors will offer these messages.
It will speak of an ending.
It will tell of a beginning.
It will trumpet the voice of triumph, one that is sounded best in the minds of those who believed in it the most.