But the secret is out, thanks as well to a newspaper column called “Keeping It Green” published regularly in the Sunday edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.
Written by Cameron Fisher, chairman of the volunteer-coordinated Greenway board of directors, the Editorial Page column for several months has offered helpful tips to Greenway users while also exploring the linear park’s 10-year history.
Now, Greenway users have more than just the newspaper piece to remind them of the special anniversary which will be commemorated officially on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in a noon luncheon at the Leadership and Communications Conference Center of the Church of God International Offices.
Users today have 25 reminders — compliments of area companies, businesses, churches and other organizations sponsoring congratulatory banners that were recently suspended from Greenway light poles by Cleveland Utilities bucket crews.
The green-dominated flags are adorned in white-and-yellow lettering that reads, “Celebrating 10 Years of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.” They will hang through the end of 2012.
“When we floated the idea to have banners to commemorate this occasion it was a relatively easy sell,” Fisher said in a news media statement. “There is a real variety of organizations, businesses, individuals and even a church who participated in this promotion.”
Fisher added, “The mixture reminds me of the kind of mix we have of individuals who take advantage of the Greenway every day. The Greenway is a project that appeals to so many people, regardless of age, gender, social or economic status, or even physical limitations.”
The celebration banners can be found alongside the winding Greenway from Raider Drive to Willow Street.
For those users and supporters who have followed the Greenway’s historic progress, the banners will jog their memories back all the way to October 2001 when Phase 1 was completed between 20th and 25th streets.
It was a great start that stalled as Greenway leaders worked to identify funding sources and overcome other issues. For four years it stood as the only section of the Greenway until Phase 2 from 25th Street to Raider Drive was opened in the summer of 2005, Fisher reminisced.
Currently, the Greenway boasts a couple of divided stretches with lengths of a little less than two miles each. But that’s about to change.
“This year’s anniversary also coincides with the soon-to-be-completed Phase 5, which will connect the Greenway at Raider Drive with the Tinsley Park trail and Phase 4 on the north side to form a four-mile linear park between Mohawk Drive and Willow Street,” Fisher stressed.
He acknowledged Greenway board members and other community supporters were “thrilled” at how quickly the decorative banners were sold. Confirmation of the community’s support for the Greenway was already evident by its number of daily users; however, the eagerness by sponsors to host one of the celebratory banners told Fisher and board members of the enthusiasm for the facility.
Greenway banner sponsors include the city of Cleveland, Church of God International Offices, Cleveland Utilities, Bank of Cleveland, Southern Heritage Bank, Cleveland Surgical Associates, True Custom Builders, Lee University, Rotary Club of Cleveland, Dr. Walter Peterson, Mayor Tom Rowland, State Rep. Kevin Brooks, People for Care and Learning, Garden Plaza of Cleveland, Southeast Supply, Mars Chocolate NA, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Ocoee Insurance, First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Cooke’s Food Store, Caldwell Paving, Keller Williams Realty and Whirlpool.
Over the years, the Greenway has become far more than just a source for exercise. It now offers a variety of amenities whose numbers will continue to grow. A few include the playground near the First Tennessee Bank main offices near Raider Drive, a set of restrooms, lighting, a stone-pillar entrance on the Willow Street end, concrete markers displaying historic text about the area, benches up and down the winding stretch, a water fountain, pedestrian bridges that span Mouse Creek in several locations, underpasses that provide user safety at major intersections and street crossings and others.
The Greenway’s long-term goal is to stretch from the Village Green Shopping Center all the way north to the Hiwassee River.