KINGSPORT — Since the 1970s, the Greenbelt has served as a walking path used by many in the community.
Recently a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation allowed the city to make plans to lengthen the trail by about a mile on the Exchange Place side. Since April, these plans have been put into action, with the project expected to be completed this month.
When construction is finished, walkers will have the option to forgo the large gravel hill approaching Exchange Place and opt for a less strenuous stroll to Cleek Road. The new section of the trail will include a deck similar to others on the Greenbelt and will meander through the trees before ending at Cleek Road.
The Greenbelt is not just open to walkers and runners, but also to cyclists and skaters.
Avid cyclist Kevin Fielden uses the Greenbelt for a leisurely ride when he wants to take a break from his usual, more challenging routes. As a lover of the outdoors who lives relatively close to the new addition, he says, “It will be easy for my family and I to take the sidewalk to the extension and enjoy the nice fall weather.”
For those who are worried about the environmental effects of the project, there will be very little. The new route steers clear of trees that might be inhabited by bats, and the on-site project liaison ensures that the construction remains low-impact.
Construction will also not interfere with those who are using the original path. Although parking on the Exchange Place side has become limited, a neighboring church has opened up its available parking spaces for Greenbelt users.
The city hopes the new section of the Greenbelt will be a valuable addition to the community and the surrounding neighborhoods.