Efforts by Cannon County High School students to build a greenway through Woodbury has picked up the support of some key political leaders.
Both Sixth District Congressman Bart Gordon and County Executive Mike Gannon are in favor of the proposal which would, when completed, provide a scenic walkway/bikeway from The Arts Center to the high school.
“Greenways have been a great success throughout Middle Tennessee, and I think they would be a great addition in Cannon County,” Gordon said.
“A greenway would not only provide opportunities for people to walk, jog and ride bicycles, but it would also conserve the natural setting in Woodbury, boost property values and develop other economic opportunities.”
Gordon has been a major proponent of greenways during his congressional career, working to secure federal funding for the projects in Murfreesboro and Smyrna. He pledges to work to do the same for Cannon County.
“Quality companies that provide our residents with good-paying jobs want to be in a location that not only has reliable utilities and sound infrastructure in place, but also has appropriate venues where employees can spend their leisure time.
“I am committed the helping Cannon County get the funds needed so they can build a Greenway in the future.”
At a recent meeting of the Cannon County Joint Economic Development Committee, Gannon voiced his support for a greenway.
“I’m 100% for it. I’d love to see one (greenway) from the coop all the way down to the arts center. That would be wonderful,” Gannon said.
Gannon indicated the major obstacle facing the students and the project will be obtaining right-of-ways from property owners.
“The city had money or the possibility of money for one a few years ago and couldn’t get the right-of-ways, so it will be tough to do from that standpoint,” Gannon said. “But it would be a good thing for the community to have and the students to work on.”
• The greenway project was just one of the topics discussed at the Joint Economic and Development Committee meeting. The purpose of the committee and meeting is to foster a better relationship between the two city governments and the county government and schools, Gannon said.
The major news coming from Gannon to the rest of the committee was a status report on the courthouse revitalization project.
“It’s the big thing going on for me right now. It’s something we’ve worked on for quite some time and it’s a joint venture between the county and the City of Woodbury and its an 80/20 grant and the city will put up $80,000, the county will put up $80.000. That’s 10% each and the rest will come from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.”
While Gannon would have liked to have see the work done years ago, several factors have contributed to the delay, he said.
“We have had environmental. and drainage issues and a number of other things that have held it up, but the bid date is October the 6 at 10 here in my office and bids can be turned in all the way up until 10 a.m. and then Mr. James Garrett with James C. Haley and Company will be opening the bids.
“Hopefully we can get this thing (revitalization) going real quick. It’s something I’ve wanted to see for along time and I hope people don’t expect more than what it is. It sounds like a lot of money but a lot of this is going to be underground and when I say underground, we’ve got some bad runoff water problems here.
“We’re going to have to put in new drainage pipes, especially up front. That will benefit the city and the county. And another thing, to beautify it, all the electrical and telephone wires will be underground. There will be nothing, no poles and wire, over ground. That’ll be good.”
Gannon said there will also be antique-looking light posts and new sidewalks.
“Now some argue why is the city having to help with this? Now this was the thinking at the time and I think this is reasonable. The courthouse is the center of the city but its county property and its county government. Well the city is part of the county.
“So there’s two ways of looking at it. Another thing is once this thing is done, we’re hoping to build an incentive for the building owners to upgrade the fronts of their building and then we’ll apply for another one (grant), the county will go partners and we’ll expand it further into the city is what our long term goal was.”