Keeping it Green: Raider Drive Park is becoming a major Greenway destination
by Cameron Fisher Cleveland/Bradley Greenway Board
Oct 20, 2013 | 844 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A couple of Saturdays ago a first-time event took place on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.

It’s called a “Color Run” and they are gaining popularity across the country. The event attracted a couple hundred participants and vendors, and featured runners doing a 5K on the Greenway while being showered with a rainbow of colors consisting of an environmentally-friendly mixture of colored corn starch.

I’m sure I’m showing my age and “un-coolness,” but to be honest with you, if I’m going to run a 5K, I don’t want people tossing colored corn starch all over me! There were some pretty excited young people who celebrated the completion of their run with an “explosion” of color that was a sight to behold.

This “explosion” I am referring to took place just off Raider Drive at the grassy area adjacent to the Greenway and near the former location of First Tennessee Bank. I call attention to the Color Run because it is a great example of how the Raider Drive “park” area is becoming the newest “hot spot” in Cleveland as the destination of choice for outdoor events.

The primary reason the park is becoming such a gathering place is the Greenway. Since its completion in 2005, the section of Greenway between Raider Drive and 25th Street has become the most traversed section of the four-mile linear park.

The park’s proximity to Cleveland High gives it high exposure as students use the Greenway to walk or bike to school. The businesses of Northway Plaza benefit from direct Greenway access. Several years ago a playground was built which attracts families, and the addition of a restroom currently under construction will only increase the popularity. Both the playground and restroom, as well as a water fountain, are a part of a community commitment by the local benevolent organization, People for Care and Learning.

As part of the restroom construction, the United Way is sponsoring the installation of a ‘Born Learning Trail’ on the sidewalks surrounding it, something that will be easier experienced than explained once it is completed later this year.

The Color Run is not the first event to take place in the park area. For the last several years, the annual “Great Cleveland Duck Race” culminates in that green space after the ducks lazily float down Mouse Creek along the Greenway.

Earlier this year the highly successful “Chalk the Walk” was inaugurated. Last month, there was an event called, “Good News on the Greenway,” sponsored by the Good News magazine.

On several weekends there is a run or walk to raise funds for a worthy cause that originates on that lawn. During the holiday season there are plans for a unique Christmas tree sale, which will include more than just trees. All of these events have demonstrated various ways of staging, something that is being taken into consideration for the future.

While this area continues to grow in popularity, it is important for all of us to remember that the park area is privately owned, but generously shared with our community. The same goes for the parking area of the former bank, a parking area that has served throngs of event-goers, Blue Raider fans, and avid runners, walkers and bikers.

What the future holds for this entire area is still in the air, but in the meantime we are grateful for the opportunity to enjoy it.

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