The restrooms will be built behind the People for Care and Learning playground off Raider Drive. Specifically, in the small parking located adjacent to the playground.
“This [area] has become one of the best places in the community for our kids,” Garmon said. “We have partnered with the city, Men and Women of Action, Caldwell Paving, the Greenway and United Way [of Bradley County].”
All five partners are set to play a part in the four-week project.
Men and Women of Action will handle construction with Caldwell Paving providing a firm foundation. Garmon said MWA’s involvement will, “Keep costs way down, but keeps our professionalism and quality high.”
Ivey Lawrence, PCL director of events and logistics, explained both construction parties will only be charging the price of materials.
City contractor Brian Beck saved PCL a headache by accurately pinpointing the floodplain near the proposed construction site. Originally the restrooms were set to be built into the trees and grass behind the playground. This would have made the new facilities prone to flooding.
Chairman of the Greenway board Cameron Fisher said both costs and the threat of flooding have made it difficult to meet the demands for restrooms.
He explained state code says facilities cannot be built in the flood zone.
“So there are very few places along the Greenway you can build [restrooms]. That is the nature of the Greenway anyway,” Fisher said. “You put it in an area that can’t be built on anyway, so it is going to be flooded” occasionally.
Recent rainstorms have accurately displayed how prone the Greenway is to flooding.
Fisher thanked PCL for the work it has completed on the Greenway.
Pointing to the kids behind him at the playground, Fisher continued, “We have all these kids out here and every one of them probably needs to use the restroom right now, and where are they going to go?”
He said he could not say enough about PCL or the other partners who have worked to promote growth on the Greenway.
Garmon mentioned several additional potential constructions to include another restroom, a stage and a pavilion.
The United Way of Bradley County has also jumped on board to add a project of its own.
Two sidewalks will be paved as routes to the restroom from the playground and Greenway. Along theses sidewalks children and parents alike will be able to enjoy the UW’s Born Learning Trail. Activities like hopscotch will allow children to play by themselves, with others or with their parents.
Ten stations will be set up along the two walkways. Signs will hold information on early learning for the benefit of caregivers. Parents will be able to learn how to have a positive impact on their child’s early education while their children play.
Sarah Haratine, UW VISTA, said parents of any background can help their children.
“What we are really trying to do is target parents so they understand ... these are some ways [they] can be intentional,” Haratine said. “[They] don’t necessarily have to go get a curriculum. Just use everyday moments.”
The trail has been in the works for about a year. Jaynese Waddell, UW community impact associate, originally thought up the concept. Haratine will now head the project to make the original plans a reality.
“We really want to see people using it and taking advantage of it. We are really just trying to foster parents being intentional by taking those little moments and helping their children get ready for school,” Haratine said. “Ultimately, that is going to help reading scores and graduation rates.”
Both Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and State Rep. Kevin Brooks were present to hear the good news concerning the restrooms and Born Learning Trail.
“The Greenway has already had a tremendous effect on the community,” Rowland said. “When we can do things like this to further enhance the quality of life it offers, [we will].”
According to Fisher, the city has worked maintenance of the Greenway into its Parks and Recreation master plan.
Brooks said his entire family uses the Greenway.
“It really is a growing and important part of our community. It continues to grow and continues to have more and more usage and walkers, runners and families,” Brooks said. “It is just amazing. I truly enjoy watching our community take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Added Brooks, “Not every community has what we have here in Cleveland.”