Beginning Monday, members of the National Park Service Trails Division, based in Santa Fe, N.M., will be visiting Charleston.
Steve Burns and Cori Kolisko will be surveying the historic downtown and ultimately will provide proposals for the design of the greenway extension.
According to Melissa Woody, vice president of the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, the proposed project will be known as the “National Historic Trail Experience.”
The landscape architect team of Burns and Kolisko will be walking the town to “work on a plan for the design of the proposed interpretive greenway,” Woody noted.
“The plan will offer suggestions on design elements to highlight cultural and historical features of the story to be told as visitors and residents walk in the footsteps of history. Other technical issues of constructing the trail will also be addressed,” Woody said.
“This has been four years in the making,” she added.
Prior to the opening of the Hiwassee Heritage Center, NPS representatives visited Charleston and began working with city officials.
In May 2013, NPS designated the center as a Certified Trail of Tears Interpretive Site.
The land in the city of Charleston has long been known for its historic role in Cherokee history, then after the Trail of Tears removal of the Cherokee people, a key place in history because of Fort Cass and the Civil War connection.
According to information provided by NPS, some of the focal points expected to be discussed are the TVA Cypress Grove, Lewis Ross House, Henegar House, the Fort Cass area and Cherokee Indian Agency sites, Rattlesnake Springs and other areas relevant to both the Trail of Tears and the Civil War Trails.
The land in Charleston was an encampment for Cherokee in 1838, as plans were made for their removal westward to Oklahoma.
“Stakeholders in the project will meet to provide input, ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams of what the trail experience may look like,” Woody said.
The workshop will be held Tuesday for the stakeholders’ meeting.
Charleston residents and those interested in attending are invited to the March 7 presentation by Kolisko and Burns, after they have had the opportunity to develop a proposed plan, according to Woody.
That meeting will be held at the Charleston Methodist Church beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.
Opportunities to discuss the proposed plan and a timeline of the steps accomplishing the project will also be heard, according to Woody.
For additional information, contact Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society’s Darlene Goins, at firstname.lastname@example.org.