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Grant sought for greenway extension
Greenway extension master plan grant1.jpg
Walking the greenway has become a favorite outdoor pastime for local residents. City officials are still considering ways to extend its boundaries, which currently run from Riverfront Park to Pepper Branch Park. Pictured is a four-generation family social distancing together last week. From left, are Cambrea Polson, Dixie Polson, Bonita Horn, Stormie Polson, Joe Ferrell, Charlotte Ferrell and Frances Horn. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Extending the Barren Fork Greenway has been under consideration since phase one was complete many years ago. The dream continues. 

Tourism Development Board members are seeking a grant to fund a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan that will look at how to incorporate alternative transportation infrastructure (a greenway for biking and walking) on the roads connecting Pepper Branch Park to downtown.

“The connection would likely be via High Street, across on Colville Street and over to Ramsey and Rocket parks,” said Tourism Development Board member Katie Kemezis. “We applied for the grant in order to tackle some of the objectives in the 2018 Warren County/McMinnville Compre-hensive Plan related to transportation, health and wellbeing, and tourism and the 2017 Adventure Tourism Plan.”

Phase one of Barren Fork Greenway connected Riverfront Park to Pepper Branch Park along the edge of Barren Fork River. 

The grant is a Community Transportation Planning Grant through TDOT and could be up to $125,000 if awarded. While TDB members pledged to cover up to $6,000 of any required match, the remainder would be covered by the city of McMinnville. 

“We heard back from TDOT that we are a finalist for that grant,” said Kemezis, in an update during the last TDB meeting. “That is really great news. We should hear soon if we will receive it or not. They did tell me it looks like the grant is valued at about $75,000. The match will be lower than we anticipated.”

If the grant is awarded and a master plan produced, that would lay the groundwork for obtaining grants for actual construction. 

“If the grant is awarded, we will work with a consultant selected by TDOT to build the master plan,” said Kemezis, “I’m sure there will be a great deal of community input as part of the process. Once we have the master plan, we will be well suited to apply for future grants to cover the construction of the infrastructure prescribed by the plan.”

It is unknown when the final announcement will be made.