Phase I Greenway Project opens to public

Cutting the ribbon May 11 for Phase I of Fayetteville’s Greenway Project, Mayor Michael Whisenant and aldermen are encouraging residents to enjoy the walking and biking trail that now connects the downtown with Stone Bridge Park.

A public event is planned as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and public gatherings are permitted, according to officials. Ultimately, memorial benches are expected to be placed along the trail for the public’s enjoyment.

The project was initiated and received funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation in 2008, but due to a poor economy at the time, it was delayed, with funding returned to the state. Then in early 2014, former Mayor John Ed Underwood and the Board of Aldermen launched the “Greenway + Blueway Master Plan”. Lose Designs and the late David Lose were selected to conduct the project’s master plan study.

In the summer of 2014, after a community design session hosted by Lose Designs, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized the city to make application for a Transportation Alternative Program grant to connect the historic Fayetteville square to Stone Bridge Park as Phase I of the Fayetteville Greenway/Blueway Project.

Subsequent to that application, TDOT’s Local Programs Development Office, led by Transportation Manager Neil Hansen, recommended in 2015 the award of $560,928 in TDOT and FHWA funds for the $701,160 Greenway Project. The grant award was approved by then Gov. Bill Haslam with support from State Reps. Pat Marsh and Rick Tillis and then State Sen. Jim Tracy. Lose Designs was selected as project engineers with Community Development Partners serving as grant administrators.

Officials broke ground on the Phase I project in late July 2019.

Members of the 2014 Board of Mayor and Aldermen were recognized in Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremonies. In addition to Underwood, members of that board included then Vice Mayor Gwen Shelton and Aldermen Danny Bryant, Dorothy Small, Marty Pepper, Michael Whisenant, and the late Dr. Thomas Young. Other former city officials were also recognized, including former Mayor Jon Law and former Aldermen Anna Catherine Cowley Osteen and Violet Harry.

Current members of the City Board are, in addition to now Mayor Whisenant, Vice Mayor Dorothy Small

and Aldermen Jeff Alder, Tonya Allen, Danny Bryant, Donna Hartman, and Rachael Martinez.

In addition to city leaders, representatives of TDOT’s Local Programs Development Office were on hand for the ribbon cutting, including Hansen, Program Supervisor Lisa Dunn, Program Monitor Sarah Sutton, and Program Monitor Katie Brown.

Whisenant also expressed appreciation to Small & Small Oil and Sequatchie Concrete for granting easements to allow the Greenway to cross their properties. Support staff recognized included former Parks and Recreation Director Rickey Honey and current Director Chris Mitchell.

Ultimately, the Greenway/Blueway Master Plan is aimed at connecting each of the city’s parks.

Phase II, which is pending an additional archaeology study, calls for a pedestrian bridge over the Elk River, connecting the Phase I project with the Camp Blount Historical Site and the Huntsville Highway shopping district.

Phase III includes a river walk from the pedestrian bridge around the perimeter of Camp Blount.