Access Granted: Construction to Begin on New Greenline Access Point near Perkins Road
November 14, 2016
Shelby Farms Greenline has grown in length and popularity since opening in 2010, and now access to the trail is growing. Thanks to a dedicated group of community members in the Avon neighborhood, and grants from Commissioner Heidi Shafer and the Hyde Family Foundations, a new access point will safely connect more than 1,000 residents in the surrounding area to the trail between Perkins Road and Waring Road. Construction is slated to begin the week of November 14, 2016, and will take approximately 3 months to complete.
The new access point, known as the “Perkins Access,” is among the first group of projects certified by the Mid-South Regional Greenprint that are moving from the planning phase into the construction phase. The Perkins Access will create a safe, ADA compliant access point for cyclists and pedestrians in the middle of a 2.5-mile stretch of Shelby Farms Greenline that does not currently feature a neighborhood access point.
“If not for the early efforts of our neighbors Carter Davis, Susan Pohlman, Jeff Wallace and others, we would not be at the point where we would be able to start construction now,” said Kevin Raney, member of the Perkins Access Development Committee. “Their foresight in creating the initial designs allowed us to be ahead of the development curve as the Greenline has matured and become a vital part of our neighborhood and community”
Neighbors expressed interest in a connection to the Greenline when it opened in 2010, and they kick-started the process by raising funds to commission preliminary design sketches. In 2013, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy received a sub-planning grant from Mid-South Regional Greenprint, which moved the sketches into design plans completed by Ritchie Smith Associates. The designs were shared in a series of public meetings in 2014-2015, and in 2016, Commissioner Heidi Shafer allocated her entire $100,000 Community Enhancement Grant to this project to help fund construction costs.
“I am so pleased to see the physical construction commence for our Perkins Entrance, which will make it easier and safer for citizens to get to nature, exercise and work. The Greenline and Shelby Farms are such wonderful assets to our whole county,” says Commissioner Shafer.
Fundraising for planning and construction phases of the Perkins Access was a team effort. Neighbors raised more than $9,200 for the project on top of the Community Enhancement Grant, and Hyde Family Foundations contributed $58,000, bringing the fundraising to a close and moving the project into the construction phase.
“The Hyde Family Foundations’ investment in trail projects, including this new neighborhood access point to the Shelby Farms Greenline, is driven by our desire to connect Memphians via a network of green assets like parks and trails, safe streets, and transit,” said Lauren Taylor, the Hyde Family Foundations’ Program Director for Livable Communities. “Our grant was designed to challenge citizens to raise some of the money required to complete this project. By doing so, they affirm how much our community values the implementation of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint. This project exemplifies how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve great things for our region.”
In addition to improving safe access to the trail, the Perkins Access will improve a serious erosion problem along the trail’s edge which stems from a steep incline between the trail and Princeton Rd. The access point is part of bigger picture connections for the burgeoning cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improvements throughout Memphis and Shelby County.
“Connectivity and community access are two of our highest priorities,” said Shelby Farms Park Conservancy executive director Jen Andrews. “Thanks to the leadership of Avon neighbor Kevin Raney and Commissioner Heidi Shafer, we were able to make a great public trail even better by connecting more people to the Greenline, to Shelby Farms Park and to one another.”
Shelby Farms Greenline will remain open during construction, but trail visitors should be prepared to pause in the area, if needed.