The Greenway Council has been given the green light by McMinnville officials to install a walking trail in an area that could possibly be the future site of phase two for the Barren Fork River Greenway.
Council members requested access to begin clearing a walking trail in the wooded area from Cedar Street to Beersheba Street in anticipation for future development of phase two of the greenway from Sallys Alley to Rocket Park.
McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley attended a meeting with the council and presented the request before Parks and Recreation Committee members Ben Newman and Rick Barnes.
“The biggest thing is they want to go down and mark off the trail and then get volunteers to clear the path in anticipation of extension of the greenway or to have a hiking, biking, walking or whatever trail is going to be down there,” said Haley.
The trail will stop before the bridge on Beersheba Street because the city has yet to receive permission from TDOT for an easement under the bridge.
“If we have a trail that stops at the bridge, then that would help us work with TDOT to get that open underneath the bridge,” said Newman. “It’s harder to convince them if you don’t have an existing trail.”
Barnes added, “I think the problem for TDOT was liability. The new law does away with that.”
The Tennessee Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 protects against liability lawsuits but not gross negligence. City officials have petitioned the state to name the boundaries of McMinnville as an Adventure Tourism District.
Haley says this trail cannot be called a greenway because a greenway must meet requirements set down by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This cannot be called a greenway,” he said. “A greenway has to met ADA requirements. It has to be paved. We will have to call it a trail at this time. And, as far as TDOT is concerned, they won’t give tentative use of the property until they have definite plans presented to them for their approval. They want to know exactly how the property will be used.”
Barnes suggested naming the trail after Ruth Caldwell.
“I do have a suggestion on naming it, or at least a portion of it,” said Barnes. “I would like to name it after Ruth Caldwell. How about Pokey Park? She is a very colorful character in our community and everybody knows her.”
When the comment brought laughter, Barnes added, “I’m dead serious.”
Caldwell lived beside the river and was called “Mrs. Pokey” by local residents. While she had a charitable nature and gave monetary donations to organizations, Mrs. Pokey may have been more widely known for questionable activities of liquor being sold out of her residence.
Committee members Newman and Barnes unanimously agreed to allow the Greenway Council access to the property. However, a name for the trail was not chosen.
No time was given for Greenway Council members to begin clearing for the trail. Volunteers will be needed to help in the process.