CLEVELAND, Tenn. - It has been 10 years since construction began on the Cleveland/Bradley Greenway, and a celebratory luncheon Wednesday marked the attraction's progress and possibilities.
Members of the greenway's board and Cleveland and Bradley County officials joined representatives of industry, civic groups and individuals for the event.
They reviewed the work phases that have led to a nearly complete four-mile pedestrian trail along Mouse Creek from Willow Drive north to Mohawk Drive. In a few weeks the last section, through Tinsley Park, will be opened to connect the miles.
Cameron Fisher, board chairman, told the audience the greenway will continue to grow.
Talk of a greenway began years before the actual startup, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said.
"At the time, it was not the most popular project in Bradley County," he said. "I often got questions about why."
But Davis and other speakers called the greenway the most popular project in city/county history.
Davis and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said questions now involve where the greenway will go next and which communities will get connectors to it.
Andrea Lockerby, director of Bradley County Coordinated School Health, said the greenway has inspired community trails at schools across the county, including today's start on building one at Walker Valley High School.
"Health is a precious gift," Lockerby said. "We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we were made to move."
The greenway has become a connector for Cleveland's varied communities, board member Matt Brown said.
City Councilman Bill Estes said, "Every city school is now connected by the greenway, or will be in two weeks."
During the next 10 years, Fisher said, greenway builders can complete the original goal of going to Charleston and the Hiwassee River. The greenway also can inspire more community links following other creeks, he said.