There has been a lot of buzz and attention regarding the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Master Plan just recently completed by Equinox. The project has been covered by several news outlets and even a television station in the Knoxville area. What’s the excitement all about? Perhaps it’s due to the estimated $65 million dollar economic impact it could have or that it is a major part of a larger vision that connects Knoxville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Or it could be that the greenway will serve as a major alternative transportation corridor and a mega-recreation facility connecting multiple underserved communities. Equinox was thrilled to be part of this visionary project. Equinox’ Recreation Planner, Kimberly Williams stated that “Working on greenway projects like this is a total pleasure. You get the chance to be a part of something that could have such a great legacy and impact on generations of people; whether it’s the local bike commuter, tourists visiting from out of town, or small business born to serve greenway users”.
Equinox lead a team of consultants to develop the 14 mile, multi-jurisdictional, Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Master Plan (link to the website). The plan connects Maryville, Tennessee (and the greater Knoxville region) to the door of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one of its gateway communities. The Master Plan takes a holistic approach, looking at health and economic impacts as well as constructability and cost. The plan provides suitable alignments for the greenway and spurs to connect the greenway to nearby communities, parks, schools, and other destinations. The Master Plan includes design recommendations to guide implementation, locates a feasible route along U.S. Highway 321 and provides design solutions for challenges within the corridor.
The greenway is an important vision for the region as it has an anticipated economic impact of $65 million in the first ten years of its construction alone. For every $1 spent on greenway construction and maintenance there will be a return on the investment of $2.66. Being a gateway to the nation’s most visited National Park also will be a boon for tourism and economic development as the greenway corridor is very picturesque and likely will become a regional destination.
The Knoxville Region Transportation Planning Organization, the Great Smoky Mountains Greenway Council, the city of Maryville, Blount County, and Townsend, TN, are all partners and champions of the plan.
Links to news articles about the master plan
And if you would like to see the complete master plan you can find it here