With the Greenway such a permanent part of our community, individuals and groups have been recognizing the value of improving it by contributing two dozen benches, four water fountains, two historic markers and even a playground. These have all been needed and appreciated donations. However, there are other items that could be added that would enhance the Greenway experience even further.
From time to time, the Parks and Recreation Department or the Greenway board gets requests for suggestions for projects that groups or individuals can adopt. While the items listed above continue to be needed, below is a list of some projects which have been discussed in the past. Perhaps one of these can be adopted by an organization you know or funded by a family wishing to honor a loved one. They are not listed in any particular order of need or importance, and the cost to fund them varies widely.
Let’s take a look at some possibilities:
1. Message Boards: Greenways bring people together and it makes sense to have a place where they can get information about community events. All-weather message boards are commonplace at public parks and greenways.
2. Dog Parks: This was mentioned in an earlier column as a real need among dog owners: a fenced area along the Greenway where their pets can be let off their leashes to run free for a few minutes before finishing their walks with their owners.
3. Public Art: The first piece of public art on the Greenway has been placed with the big yellow chair just off Raider Drive; however, there is going to be a need for funding at least three other pieces at the mile markers. Where the public art program goes from here will depend largely on the generosity of future donors.
4. Outdoor Gyms: This relatively new concept places fitness equipment outdoors for free public use. More than jungle gyms and swing sets, outdoor gyms mimic traditional indoor fitness equipment, but are manufactured to withstand the elements. The pieces can be individually placed, or as a grouping, and offer more options for those who want to be fit, but may not be able to afford a gym membership.
5. Distance Markers: The perfect markers that tell Greenway patrons how far they have gone has not been decided. The debate about style, frequency and starting point(s) has been ongoing since the Greenway’s inception. When the final decision is made, funding distance markers will be a feather in the cap of some organization or individual.
6. Picnic Tables: Like benches, there can never be too many outdoor picnic tables, inviting families to take their Greenway experience further. These would be placed in several already designated areas, or if several were donated, a new area could be established.
7. Event Stage: A couple of places along the Greenway have been identified as areas where a stage could be erected. The space would be slated for impromptu concerts, reserved for family gatherings or perhaps a staging area for events that take place on the Greenway such as 5K races or the Mix 104.1 Duck Race.
8. Restrooms: While this is a larger ticket item, there is a need for at least one more restroom facility along the Greenway’s four-mile stretch. Currently there are two. They are located at the Harris Circle trailhead and at the Tinsley Park playground.
9. Picnic Shelters: While also a larger ticket item, picnic shelters similar to what exists at Tinsley Park are needed at strategic points along the Greenway. These can also be more elaborate to include such enhancements as fireplaces and water fountains.
These ideas represent a sampling of what is possible on the Greenway. Perhaps you have an idea or one of these projects looks attractive to you or your organization. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.