Wednesday, December 14, 2016

City announced 'rapid response' greenways/trails service crew

Mayor Madeline Rogero on Wednesday introduced the City’s new Greenways Service Crew, which will build two new miles of greenway per year while also addressing ongoing maintenance of the City’s nearly 100-mile network of greenways and trails.

“With the Greenways Feasibility Study, we now have a plan to connect greenways throughout Knoxville. This new crew will expedite our progress in linking more neighborhoods into our greenways network,” said Mayor Rogero. “Additionally, this crew means that we have a rapid response team to address maintenance calls reported to 311 by greenway users.”

The five-person service crew will hit the greenways daily, armed with a small fleet of new equipment, including an off-road truck, a wood chipper, a smaller greenway-sized dump truck that will be able to release mulch on either side, an ATV, and a skid steer. The crew even has two mountain bikes that will assist in quickly accessing the more remote parts of the greenways system. The equipment cost about $135,000.

The creation of the new in-house Greenways Service Crew will speed up the City’s response to maintenance requests from residents through the City’s 311 Call Center. Dedicating a crew to focus solely on greenways also will accelerate construction of new trails at a key time.

Last summer, City officials unveiled a detailed plan for strategically adding 24 miles of connected greenways in 13 different corridors. The Greenway Corridor Feasibility Study is a blueprint for the most comprehensive greenways build-out in the City’s history. The City currently has $3 million in capital funding marked for greenway construction.

“Basically, we now have a crew waking up every day thinking specifically about greenways – how to improve greenways as a daily service to Knoxville residents,” said Chad Weth, Public Service Director. “We’re also looking forward to assisting Parks and Recreation as they expand the greenway system.”

Officials said although the goal will be to build two miles in-house per year through the new Greenways Service Crew, a large resurfacing project of an existing greenway could occasionally affect that number.

The Greenways Service Crew is the most recent reorganization effort to enhance service on City greenways. In 2012, Mayor Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch announced the Knoxville Police Department’s Parks and Greenways Patrol unit, a team of eight officers that systematically surveys all parks and greenways within the City.

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