These individuals and organizations have recognized the value of the extension and continuation of the Greenway, not only to the community’s health and well-being, but to the property itself.
It is a well-documented fact that Greenways enhance property values. Studies in cities all across the country have proven that real estate values rise, and residents realize connectivity of their property to a greenway or walking trail makes for an easier and more lucrative sale. Another reason for granting or donating the access is the fact that no permanent structure can be built there because of the potential for flooding, so why not turn it into a linear park?
In the last 12 years that our Greenway has been in place there have been numerous grants of property easements or long-term leases, most of which have been very cooperative ventures.
The first of these properties in question was the stretch between 20th and 25th streets. The majority of the land which made up Phase 1 was owned by the Church of God and fronted their International Offices at Keith and 25th. The organization deeded the Mouse Creek frontage back in 2001 to allow the vision of the Greenway to begin. Other large property owners along the four miles have included Mars Chocolate, Duracell, Home Depot and the Cleveland City Schools. Smaller parcels have been donated by Fairfield Development, Jones Properties, Southeastern Stair and the Bennett family. The Bennett’s donation allowed the Greenway to extend north of Mohawk Drive about 1,000 feet.
At the other end, the latest easements given by property owners will allow the Greenway to extend south of Willow Street for approximately the same length. In response to these easements, the Cleveland City Council appropriated $75,000 to install an at-grade crossing of Willow Street which will connect with a new 10-foot extension along Mouse Creek, terminating at a connection on Brown Avenue. The full quarter-mile section, between Willow and Inman streets, was named long ago by the Greenway Board as Phase 6 of the Greenway.
It is noteworthy that as far as the Greenway stretches — now more than four miles — there has been only one owner who requested remuneration for their property, but even that small 100-foot parcel was eventually deeded. All others have been on board and supportive of the vision of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway being an integral part of our community and lifestyle.
We will need a lot more generous visionaries to get us from Inman Street all the way to the Hiwassee River. We are grateful to those who have taken us this far, and look forward to working with others who will take our Greenway to the next destination.
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