Downtown boasts the Riverwalk. West Augusta has Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Now Grovetown is getting ready to throw its hat in the ring.
The Grovetown Greenway is 44.7 acres of land, donated by local businessman Tim Shelnut, bordering Euchee Creek at Grovetown-Harlem Road and extending up to Wrightsboro Road and includes the area behind the new Grovetown Middle School.
The wetlands in that area make it a non-viable commercial property, so the city has decided to turn it into a nature park.
"There's really nothing you can do next to the Euchee Creek wetlands as far as developing it for commercial use," Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said. "And since you can't build on it, why not preserve it?"
Trudeau said that the City of Grovetown received a $500,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to build the greenway with the city contributing an additional $125,000 for engineering and administration plans.
A bulldozer clears land for the Grovetown Greenway, along Euchee Creek on Harlem-Grovetown Road.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Construction of the project began in early December and has been separated into two phases. Phase one of the project is expected to be completed in April and phase two will be finished sometime in 2005.
Phase one of the project will consist of two miles of multi-use trails, a rock den, a parking area, a pond, a 300-foot long bridge, rock outcroppings, picnic areas, an overlook, an outdoor classroom and more.
Phase two features additional trails linking the greenway to schools and housing projects, and another parking and rest area off Wrightsboro Road.
Maintenance of the greenway will fall on the shoulders of Grovetown's recreation department.
The park will primarily be used for recreation purposes, but it will also provide a great learning opportunity for area school children.
"We specifically wanted to build an outdoor classroom with the idea that teachers could incorporate the greenway into their lessons," Trudeau said. "What better place to learn about geology or other earth sciences than outdoors in nature. There'll be kiosks and signs identifying types of rocks, trees and plants."
Another purpose of the greenway will be to make a handsome addition to the acreage of land held in trust for the Columbia County Greenspace Committee. In fact, the Greenspace Committee will more than likely be approving $31,000 for Grovetown from the state Department of Natural Resources' greenspace program to purchase more land for phase two development.
"(Those funds) can only be used to acquire land and we'll use it to buy land to build a pathway from the greenway to Grovetown Middle School," Trudeau said. "We'll also be acquiring land ... to make out a trail up to Wrightsboro Road on the south side of Euchee Creek that will include a little parking area and rest area."
Once the property is placed in a land trust and approved as greenspace, the city will be forbidden from ever developing it for commercial use, which Trudeau says won't be a problem.
"We want it to be as natural as can be."
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