Keeping it Green: Andrew, Nancy Bennett donation of land a key to Greenway future
by Cameron Fisher Cleveland/Bradley Greenway Board
Oct 21, 2012 | 702 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A recent donation to the city of Cleveland has served as a big boost to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.

Several weeks ago, Andrew and Nancy Bennett donated 7 acres of land to the city “for the express purpose of extending the Greenway.” The parcel is located on the north side of Mohawk Drive and is adjacent to Mouse Creek. Extending the Greenway another quarter mile is very possible, as passage under the Mohawk bridge over Mouse Creek is “doable,” and once on the northern side the terrain is very adaptable to asphalt or concrete.

As all of the Greenway is currently, it is located in the flood zone, but that means it is that much more attractive to Greenway development because codes do not allow permanent structures in a flood zone.

When this quarter-mile extension happens, depending on where it comes out, it will potentially connect hundreds of families directly to the Greenway. Walkers, runners, bikers and pet owners will have uninhibited access to the entire four miles of Greenway, allowing them to venture to such places as The Home Depot, Tinsley Park, Cleveland High School, Cooke’s Food Store or Northway Plaza without having to cross a street or stop for traffic.

This “neighborhood connection” was precisely the goal when the residents of Northwood subdivision were recently connected to the Greenway at Phase 5 when it was completed earlier this year. These connections will be even more vital as the Greenway expands in either direction. Whether north or south, the Greenway will encounter residential property and the opportunity for those residents to have uninhibited access.

In the 11 years our Greenway has been around, we have been blessed with nearly $2 million in grants coming from various sources, including the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the local Healthy Community Initiative. The city and county governments have also stepped up at critical times, including a matching fund partnership to get the Greenway on the ground in the beginning days.

Although still a viable option, recent changes in the process to secure state grant funding makes it more difficult to qualify for the grants. Both the city and county governments would love to contribute as is needed, but their funds are earmarked more and more as well.

For the Greenway to expand, it is going to take a much more concerted effort of support, donations and fundraising from individuals, organizations and corporations with a future vision for the Greenway.

The Bennetts recognized how important that piece of land was to extending the Greenway northward and their gift perpetuates the trend of donations received. So far, no piece of land has had to be bought in the entire four miles of the Greenway. It will take generous people like the Bennetts to extend the Greenway vision.