Where we are with the Greenway now is a unique position. While the partnerships forged with landowners to realize the current four miles have been exemplary, where we go from here is going to take more support from more individual property owners.
Another aspect of the current Greenway is that nearly all of the land it traverses is commercial, retail or corporate-owned property. With the exception of one small parcel, nowhere does the Greenway cross residential property. Herein is where the challenge lies for expansion of the Greenway.
It is no secret that no matter if the Greenway expands north or south, it will be near residential property. Homeowners are going to naturally be more resistant to a Greenway near their property than businesses or corporations.
However, greenways through residential areas are common in other cities. It has been documented that property connected to greenways increases its value. No doubt that would be the case in our community.
A few months ago I wrote of a meeting I had with a neighborhood association about the Greenway continuing to follow Mouse Creek and skirting their neighborhood. One resident brought up some valid questions, but couched them in a negative context. I’d like to address those concerns:
1. “If the Greenway comes through my neighborhood it will bring vagrants and criminals and I’ll have to install 24-hour surveillance.”
The Greenway is a public “linear” park, and just like any public street, anyone can and does walk them. While there may be some with undesirable intentions, the happy, active and supportive users far outweigh the undesirables, and for the most part, keep them away.
2. “All the wildlife will disappear.”
I didn’t quite get that comment because I have never seen a shortage of wildlife along the Greenway. The wildlife he was referring to was deer. I can vouch for the fact that the deer that were prevalent in the area between Paul Huff and Mouse Creek Road before the Greenway came in, are still there today.
3. “If the Greenway connects my neighborhood, my son will ride his bike all the way to downtown!”
I really didn’t get that question. What a great advantage to be connected to your community by a Greenway rather than having to navigate a busy street with no sidewalk.
My purpose in visiting these questions is because inevitably they will come up again should the Greenway be further expanded. At this time there are no concrete plans — only visions and dreams. I have spoken to many who are eager for the Greenway to come to them. If that happens there will have to be property owners who are eager to partner to come up with the best solution for everyone involved.