As we turn gratefully towards spring and the warmer weather soon to bless the Valley, we thought it would be a good time to update you on what the Northend Greenway has been up to over the last few months.
As you know, with your support and the efforts of Northend Greenway staff and volunteers, we were able to secure $1.2 million in funding: $600,000 in city funds and a matching state grant. The city holds that money (in a specific capital fund which is dedicated for the Northend Greenway project) and we can now rejoice in the fact that the path will be built.
Building the Northend Greenway is an enormous partnership undertaking. Some of the hard work that remains involves waiting, because the process of funding, planning, designing and constructing a greenway is pretty complicated, and requires navigating a web of bureaucratic procedures. All that takes time. We won’t attempt to follow every detail here on the NeG blog, but we will update you when we see progress on significant milestones. The engineering for the path is underway, and we are working closely with city staff, city council, and engineers to conceptualize the various phases of design and construction. This process will continue next year as we work toward groundbreaking in 2015. As the details and engineering are finalized, we will make sure your voices are heard.
Biking advocacy is always an important objective for us, and along with the path project, we continue to be busy advocating for safe, healthy, and green spaces across the city. With the help of a Chesapeake Bay Foundation Grant, we’ve partnered with a group of faculty and students at EMU to restore a section of Black’s Run that parallels the future path. We also teamed with The Natural Garden for a very successful fall planting day, which not only resulted in a new grove of native trees, but also empowered residents to think about how they can help improve our environment. Earlier last year, we partnered with the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition for our most successful Bike Month ever, and we are working on planning this year’s celebration. With three new members rotating onto the steering committee last fall, an organizational retreat seemed like a very good idea. So, in mid-February, the committee gathered for much of a sunny Saturday to review our mission and vision, to detail a set of 1, 3 and 5 year goals, and to talk about the most important opportunities and challenges we will face over the coming years.
While huge in scope and scale – and although some of the progress is almost invisible – we are so pleased that the Greenway is happening, one step at a time. Our eyes are fixed firmly on the prize: a set of interconnected linear parks, greenways and paths throughout the city that offer a pleasurable alternative to busy streets and noisy sidewalks.