Today, with more than four miles in place, the gifts and donations continue to come in. Benches, historic markers, water fountains, and larger items such as a playground, restroom and the latest gift, a pavilion, all demonstrate the giving spirit of this community and investing in one of its best assets.
In that same spirit of giving, we now have the opportunity to step up again and show our support for the Greenway. You may have noticed that the public art sculpture Sitting Tall — you may know it as “the Big Yellow Chair” — has gone missing from its location on Raider Drive next to the Greenway. No, it hasn’t been stolen. You see, the big yellow chair doesn’t belong to us — us, being Cleveland and Bradley County. From day one the chair has been “on loan” from the artist, leaving it vulnerable for purchase by someone who might want to snatch it up for their exclusive enjoyment. If that were to happen this one of-a-kind piece of interactive public art would be gone for good.
But the chair is not gone for good … it’s just on hiatus until we show that we want it to be a permanent part of our community. The chair represents more than just a unique place to climb aboard and post a photo to Facebook. Sitting Tall is the first expression toward a comprehensive program of public art on the Greenway. For the past couple of years, The Chair has become a staple of our community, a landmark, the midway marker of the Greenway, and a place to gather. For those who walk on the Greenway regularly, it is an easy thing to say, “Just meet me at the big yellow chair!”
The “Bring Back the Chair” campaign will not just place the chair permanently at its home off Raider Drive, but donations received will go toward placement of other pieces of art along the greenway. Sites have already been designated where more interactive art will further enhance our Greenway experience.
With this campaign we officially launch Friends of the Greenway, a nonprofit organization where donations can be received for the improvement and enhancement of the path. This benevolent arm of the Greenway has been in the works for several months and is now ready to receive tax-deductible donations.
Above I mentioned some of the past donations to the Greenway, but this is not an all-inclusive list, nor is it exhaustive. There are more ideas out there and we would love to hear them. With the launch of Friends of the Greenway, it is hoped that the ideas and donations will increase. However, donations are also encouraged simply as a show of support and appreciation for this unique asset in our community. Funds received will be used for a number of items unique to the path. More information can be found on the website www.cbcgreenway.com.
When you visit, click on the Friends of the Greenway link. Here you can read about what your donations will go toward. The first order of business is to bring back the Chair, but all funds received go toward enhancement of the greenway. The easiest way to give is securely at the Greenway website, or you can mail checks to “Friends of the Greenway,” P.O. Box 2730, Cleveland, TN 37320-2730.
For a donation of $25 or more, you not only support the greenway and public art, but you become a member of Friends of the Greenway, which entitles you to a free T-shirt unique to our community. Learn more about that at the website as well.
If you read my entry in this column at the first of the year, I mentioned the establishment of this organization as one of the goals for 2014. I hope everyone who enjoys our Greenway will be eager to become a Friend of the Greenway! Join us!