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Hale donates 60 acres
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Pictured, from left, forestry consultant Ben Myers, Tourism Development Board member Michael Griffith, and Land Trust for Tennessee conservation project manager Rachael Bergmann look at the original plans for the 60-acre subdivision donated by Jewell Hale. The property will be used for public outdoor recreation. - photo by Lacy Garrison
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Jewell Hale

A generous donation of land will provide residents with more outdoor recreational opportunities.

The 60-acre Rivercliff land preserve has been donated by Jewell Hale to the Tourism Development Board, which is donating it to the Friends of the Greenway, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the use of outdoor spaces in Warren County.

Located near McMinnville’s Pepper Branch Park, the land will be persevered for future generations to allow for hiking, off-road biking, trail running and wildlife watching. While the perimeter is around 2.5 miles, the entire property should allow for close to 6 miles of trail along with access to Arcadia Rd., Pepper Branch Rd. and South Chancery Street.

The property was originally approved as a residential subdivision in the 1980s with around 64 lots. Now, it’s the largest wooded tract still inside McMinnville city limits. So far, the original subdivision roads have been reclaimed and will serve as a rough cut for the primary trails.

“Basically, we would be spending up to $8,000 in appraisal and legal work and getting a property worth well over $400,000,” explained Tourism Development Board member Michael Griffith to board members. 

“With the conservation easement, what type of restrictions are put on this clause?” asked Mayor Ben Newman.

Griffith explained that restrictions include no single or multi-family dwelling or any commercial property.

Said Griffith, “The only structure that would be allowed on the property would be in conjunction with the master plan overseen by the TDB with consent by Friends of the Greenway to build a pavilion or theater or whatever. It has to stay in its rustic state.”

However, Griffith did mention that an acre has been carved out on S. Chancery Street that doesn’t have any restrictions whatsoever so it can have bathrooms, bike washing stations, air pumps, gates, and lighting.

“The partnership with the Friends of the Greenway, TDB and the Land Trust of Tennessee will ensure Warren countians and visitors to our scenic community have a pristine and undisturbed natural environment to visit,” said Griffith.

The TDB approved to pay up to $8,000 toward this venture and authorized Griffith to pursue negotiations to acquire the property.