It will be an exciting day in the history of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway on Saturday, March 10. On that day, several groups will be on hand to celebrate our linear park.Last November, the …
It will be an exciting day in the history of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway on Saturday, March 10. On that day, several groups will be on hand to celebrate our linear park.
Last November, the Cleveland Noonday and Bradley Sunrise Rotary clubs presented a ceremonial check to the Cleveland Shade Tree Board. The check represented an amount to purchase 181 trees, one for each member of the two clubs, which meet on Tuesday at noon and Thursday morning respectively.
Spearheaded by Bradley Sunrise President Matt Coleman and Cleveland Noonday Rotarian Will Jones, the trees are a celebration of Arbor Day and in response to the Rotary International president’s request to plant a tree for every Rotarian worldwide. That's more than 1.2 million trees.
According to Cleveland Urban Forester Dan Hartman, the trees will range between 8 and 12 feet tall. The first 87 are to be planted along the new Janice Casteel Greenway Connector, from North Ocoee Street in front of Ocoee Crossing, and into Tinsley Park. The remaining 94 trees will be placed at selected sites throughout the city, with several expected to be located along other parts of the Greenway.
It appears that continuing bad weather will continue to plague us and prohibit a formal grand opening of the Casteel Connector on that day. At least a third of the project is complete, including light poles between North Ocoee Street and a bridge that accesses Ocoee Crossing. While plans are still being made for the day we dedicate the new section, it should consist of a ribbon cutting and dedication, and a walking tour of the new section, which is just short of one mile.
A couple of weeks ago I talked a fellow runner into traipsing with me along the path, which is in various stages of completion. What I realized was how this new section has quite a local history. Starting at the corner of Ocoee Crossing and North Ocoee streets, Greenway users will access a winding path heading northwest along property once owned by the Church of God of Prophecy.
For those who remember, for decades the church hosted delegates who came from around the world every year for the organization’s General Assembly. They worshipped in a 10,000-seat auditorium that stood on the current Food City location.
The new Greenway crosses what used to be an overflow parking area, and where RVs parked during the annual conventions. One pedestrian bridge from that era still exists along the path. Going farther north, the Greenway follows Fillauer Branch until it goes under Keith Street and into Tinsley Park. Before softball and baseball fields, as well as tennis courts, were built back in the late 1970s, the location was the site of a sewer and wastewater treatment plant.
The new Greenway Connector will take users on a tour around the back of the ballfields until it connects with the primary Greenway. I look forward to seeing how the Greenway will react with diamond sports season, and the occasional home run ball that sails over the fences!
With all the environmental and contractual paperwork needed, the Casteel Connector has been a long time coming. It was back in July 2013 that I was privileged to accept an oversized check from “new” Gov. Bill Haslam representing a half-million dollar grant on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
When we finally cut that ribbon, it will have been worth the wait.
Facebook: The Greenway
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