Greenway Project Hits a Speed Bump

August 30, 2006 -- Posted at 5:18 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The Greenway Project has been in the works since 2002, at that time a committee decided the best place to have the trail begin would be in the undeveloped turtle creek area.

Since that time The Mall at Turtle Creek has been completed, but work on the greenway project seems to be at a stand still.

The Greenway Project is a master plan to circle the city of Jonesboro with a pathway for walkers, runners, and bikers.

"Safety is a big issue.  If I can have a place that's protected like the Greenway Project will be, then it kind of takes away all the excuses people come up with to get involved," said Jim Stearns.

However, it seems the project is on hold.  One of the problems that the city is facing is figuring out how runners and bikers would cross the turtle creek.

Another problem is funding.

"With those drainage issues, how much is that going to cost, so until we get those answers to those questions, it is not really wise for us to move forward," said Jason Wilkie, Director of the Jonesboro Department of Parks and Recreation.

The amount budgeted for the project is $80,000, an amount that now isn't enough.

"Costs have increased as far as asphalt and things like that, so, the amount we had budgeted for the Greenway Project is really much less than what is needed to build the trail at this point," said Wilkie.

There are grants that are available, but Wilkie said getting those could slow the project down further.

Jim Stearns is a member of the Ridge Riders Club and he said this project is very important to his organization.

"There are many organizations that, as they see the benefits of this as a recreational activity, are going to jump on board and help the city out," said Stearns.

Wilkie added that he hopes to see the first mile and a half of the project finished by the spring of 2007.