A new trail connecting a pair of historic Civil War reservations in urban Chattanooga is complete and open for use.
The Southeast Conservation Corps finished work in late May on the quarter-mile path through the woods that connects Pennsylvania Reservation at the corner of Campbell and Glass streets to the foot of Sherman's Reservation, which is the fourth-largest piece in the local network of national park land.
An eight-person crew from the SCC worked full time for three weeks, clearing the trail with chainsaws, cutting out trees, building rock staircases in steep places, making drainage structures and eventually using hand tools to dig out a walkable surface.
"I'm certainly very proud of it," said SCC field supervisor Joe Sherman, who oversaw the project. "I don't think we've ever done such an urban trail so accessible to people just walking around their neighborhood. It's neat to see it so urban and accessible."
The Glass House Collective, a group founded to bring new life to Glass Street, secured $50,000 grants for the project, which could just be the first to bring more trails and walkability to the area.
Representatives from Glass House Collective had the first of several meetings with area residents Monday night, when they met with Battery Heights residents to talk about what phase two of the project might look like, director Teal Thibaud said.
"We spoke to them and got a lot of great feedback on ideas," Thibaud said. "They were excited to see this kind of public land be used for recreational purposes."
With money still remaining from the first phase of the project, there could be an opportunity to, among other things, connect Sherman's Reservation to the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway and incorporate more recreational opportunities onto the land acquired for the new trail.
Thibaud said she plans to speak with several other groups of area residents this summer before proceeding with the next phase of the plan.
"We're trying to create a community-informed plan that we can work toward, because this small trail took very little time to complete," Thibaud said. "But if we're talking about connecting all these big parcels of land, it's going to take a long time to do that, so we want to make sure we're doing that with the community's mind at heart."
Contact staff writer David Cobb at email@example.com or 423-757-6249.