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Dresden ‘rail trail’ off and running

Dresden ‘rail trail’ off and running
Dresden 'rail trail' off and running | City of Dresden, rail trail, greenway project

Dresden alderman Donnie Essary (left) and Mayor Danny Forrester watch and listen as alderman Gwin Anderson
The City of Dresden has the stage set and is now waiting on state funding.
In a special called meeting of the City of Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday night, Resolution 2012-02 passed unanimously. This resolution authorizes mayor Danny Forrester to execute and submit an application with appropriate insurances to the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation requesting Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) funds for the City of Dresden greenway project. The city will be responsible for the local match toward the project to be provided in full by the general account and Forrester will serve as financial officer.
Additionally, a Governor’s Highway Safety grant in the amount of $4,996 was accepted to go to the greenway project.
With the close of that meeting, a public hearing in the form of an open-house discussion opened.
Landscape architects Andy Reynolds and Jay Easter of A2H, based in Lakeland, provided renderings of two depot concepts, a festival park map, a neighborhood park map and a map for a future skate park.
“We’re thinking large,” alderman Gwin Anderson said. “The grant we’ve applied for could potentially yield $1 million to this project.”
What started out earlier this year as an idea to have a farmer’s market at the former depot building quickly branched out into the implementation of property across the road from the Dresden Senior Center into a possible new venue for the Iris Festival connected to the depot by a walking trail, or greenway. The plan continued to grow from there as meetings in June and August produced more enthusiasm and bigger ideas.
Citizens were present Thursday night to watch and listen as Anderson, Reynolds and Easter provided explanations and fielded questions.
The beginning of the trail would be festival park, across from the senior citizens center, and the greenway would lead from there to a neighborhood park located around the current Maiden Park. Along the way, the trail would afford additional landmarks and eye-catching landscaping items. From there, the greenway would link up to the depot/farmer’s market plaza, implement Sunset Cemetery into its path and terminate near there.
The skate park, in the future, would be constructed near the end of the trail.
“This is your park,” Anderson reminded the audience. “This can be arranged or changed in any way.”
“We have the money to fund our part,” Forrester said. “We want this to be a place you can be proud to live in. There will be nothing like it in northwest Tennessee.”
Iris Festival executive committee member Angie Hewett stressed the need to refer to the project as the rail trail and not a greenway.
“This is special to us and we need to use words that are special to us. Greenway is overused,” she said.
Anderson reminded the increasingly enthusiastic crowd that TEP grants are very competitive, but for now, the City of Dresden has the concepts and the support and is just waiting on the next step.

WCP 10.25.11

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