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Wolf River Greenway Groundbreaking at Kennedy Park

Wolf River Greenway Groundbreaking Ceremony Held Sept. 25 

 Wolf River Conservancy, City of Memphis Partnered for Symbolic Event

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – September 25, 2015 – The first of many new sections of the Wolf River Greenway was celebrated earlier today in Raleigh. The Wolf River Conservancy and the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at John F. Kennedy Park at 4575 Raleigh LaGrange Road.   

The groundbreaking was symbolic of a pivotal point in the Wolf River Greenway project, as its first seven phases of design are 60 percent complete. Kennedy Park was chosen as the site of today’s groundbreaking because it is one of the city’s largest parks at more than 260 acres and represents the Conservancy’s partnership with the City for the development of the Greenway. Once finished, the Greenway will span more than 36 miles from Mud Island to Fayette County and beyond.  
 “Kennedy Park is one of many areas that the Greenway will touch, in turn helping connect people and communities, raise property values, reduce crime, encourage healthy lifestyles, and improve the general quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods,” said Keith Cole Executive Director for the Wolf River Conservancy.     
Construction on the Kennedy Park portion of the Greenway is expected to kick off during the first quarter of 2016, and the Wolf River Conservancy and its design firm Alta Planning + Design are currently working with multiple engineering and design teams. Other segments include Epping Way in Raleigh, Confluence Park at Mud Island, Walnut Grove Road to Shelby Farms Greenline, McLean Boulevard to Hollywood Street, McLean South to Chelsea Avenue, and McLean North to Rodney Barber Park.  
 “Today’s groundbreaking demonstrates that we have moved out of the design phase and into the building phase of the Wolf River Greenway project,” said Chuck Flink, Senior Advisor with Alta Planning + Design, the lead architectural firm for the Greenway. “Approximately 2.6 miles are on the ground and open for use, and 20 miles within the City of Memphis are slated to be completed by 2019—including Kennedy Park.”  
 In addition to Flink, Keith Cole spoke from the Conservancy, followed by remarks from dignitaries including City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, and Parks & Neighborhoods Director Janet Hooks. There was also a ceremonial shovel dig with key project leaders, and then students from Kingsbury High School led a bald Cyprus tree planting.  
 The groundbreaking comes as many new developments of the Greenway and Conservancy are taking shape. Now in its 30th year as an organization, the Wolf River Conservancy reached a milestone in August when it was accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Conservancy was one of only 317 land trusts from across the country to be awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008.  
 In October, a series of public open house meetings will be held in various neighborhoods so that planners can hear from those stakeholders who will be most affected by the Greenway, including Downtown, North Memphis, Frayser, Raleigh, and East Memphis.    

 About the Wolf River Greenway 
The Wolf River Greenway is a 36-mile linear park that has myriad benefits – to individuals, neighborhoods, businesses and the entire Mid-South region. Through its final completion, the Greenway will help connect people and communities, raise property values, reduce crime, encourage healthy lifestyles, and improve the general quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods. The current development focus is the completion of 18.4 miles of Greenway by 2019, within the City of Memphis, stretching from Mud Island to the Germantown city limit. Following the final phase of development, the Wolf River Greenway will link downtown Memphis to Fayette County and beyond.  
The Greenway project is being developed by the Wolf River Conservancy in partnership with the City of Memphis, and through the support of various businesses, community groups and non-profits, as well as private donors and foundations. Detailed maps of the Wolf River Greenway can be found here.  

 About the Wolf River Conservancy 
 For more than 30 years, the Wolf River Conservancy has expanded its mission, staff, resources, and membership. It has helped to protect more than 15,000 acres in the Wolf River corridor, including the beautiful Ghost River State Natural Area, launched the transformational Wolf River Greenway project, and connected thousands of people of all ages to the Wolf River through its education and recreation programs. Its vision includes the protection and enhancement of the entire Wolf River floodplain, from its origins at Baker’s Pond in North Mississippi to its confluence with the Mississippi River in Memphis, thereby providing a recreation and wildlife corridor of more than 90 miles while protecting critical aquifer recharge areas for public drinking water. For more information, visit wolfriver.org.  
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Posted by Emma Smith at 11:01 AM