BY LAUREN HENRY
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen decided Tuesday to authorize Mayor W.T. Daniels to accept a federal grant that would be used toward construction of the third phase of the town's Historic Walkway.
The federal grant, which would be provided through the Tennessee Department of Transportation, requires that the local government provide a 20 percent cash match.
The grant would be for $484,707.25; the local match would be $96,941.45.
The third phase of the Historic Walkway will begin at Hardin Park and terminate at a signalized crosswalk adjacent to Takoma Regional Hospital.
STILL YEARS AWAY
However, execution of the work is still years away.
Greeneville Public Works Director and City Engineer Brad Peters said the grant only requires that the town be ready to begin construction by Sept. 1, 2015, and that the work be completed by 2017.
"It is three or four years out, so we could get the planning done and budget for it in the future," Peters said.
He noted that the current cost estimate of the project is less than the amount of the grant, at $365,000.
Peters recommended that the board sign the grant contract with TDOT for use on the third phase of the Historic Walkway.
The first phase of the Historic Walkway, which was completed in the spring of 2008, begins near the Big Spring and travels down College Street, crossing Church and Depot streets.
The second phase of the walkway will eventually go along College Street and turn left onto S. McKee Street, then turn right onto Lake Street. Then, the walkway will turn left onto South Main Street, and right on Crescent Street to Hardin Park.
There is no timeline for completion of the second phase.
The third phase will go through Hardin Park by the pond at the park and near the Greeneville Middle School track, Peters said. It will be approximately 5,700 linear feet.
Peters said the walkway will connect with trails that the hospital is planning to build.
Takoma Wellness Director Bob Kamieneski said the hospital is working on plans for a nature trail that will go through property adjacent to the hospital.
It will not be part of the Historic Walkway but will most likely connect to it.
However, no plans have been released as of yet.
The TDOT grant was originally awarded to the Town of Greeneville to be used for the second phase of the walkway, but the town decided to defer the money for the third phase instead.
The reason for that decision, it was explained, was that, by accepting TDOT funds for a project, the town is required to follow certain federal guidelines during the planning and construction of the project for which the grant money is used.
One such guideline is the federal Uniform Relocation Act, which would require the town to appraise each piece of property that is acquired for the walkway, or that is reserved as an easement.
If the TDOT grant was used on the second phase of the walkway and the town was required to follow the Uniform Relocation Act for that work, the town would be required to secure appraisals of about 40 properties.
"It would be more red tape than what the trail was worth," Peters said.
However, applying the TDOT grant to the third phase of the walkway project would reduce the number of surveys and proposals to one, Peters said, since Phase Three begins at the Town of Greeneville's Hardin Park and involves only Hardin Park property.
The second phase of the walkway project will be completed as Department of Public Works funding becomes available.
"We can do it cheaper on our own funds on what would be considered Phase Two," said Butch Patterson, director of the Greeneville Department of Parks and Recreation.
FOREST PARK TO TOWN
When the entire project, including a final phase after phases two and three, is finished he said, "Basically you can start at [the] Big Spring and go all the way to Hardin Park, cross Vann Road to Takoma and come to Forest Park.
"And our last thing would be to bring Forest Park back to town, which would be a 4.3-mile loop, which would be wonderful for our community."
Patterson said that the town was "fortunate we were able to switch it over": a reference to applying the federal grant originally designated for Phase Two to Phase Three instead.
The final phases -- Phase Two and the part between Forest Park and the downtown area -- will be completed using Public Works funds as they become available, according to Peters.