By Teresa Vise
The North Jefferson News
NORTH JEFFERSON COUNTY —
This has been a very busy week for our town with the installation of our first intern, Jennifer Wilburn. Jennifer is a junior with the University of Alabama at Birmingham studying marketing and accounting, and she has already been an invaluable extension to our chamber of commerce.
To that end, Jennifer was able to participate in a field trip to Chief Ladiga Trail with Francesca Gross and her team supporting the Greenway District. The Greenway District was represented at this event by Gardendale, Fultondale, Brookside, Tarrant, Centerpoint and Birmingham.
The Greenway District is a partnership of these cities and is key to our future development and vision as a community. So much so, that the Birmingham Regional Planning Commission is also a participant in this endeavor.
According to Jennifer, the cities of north Jefferson can learn much from the rails to trails project in Anniston. Chief Ladiga is a great place to begin our learning of what the Greenway District means for our area. Chief Ladiga is 33 miles long and is the premier rail-trail for Alabama.
Actually, Chief Ladiga is combined with the Silver Comet Trail and both travel over 100 miles, forming the longest paved trail in America. Starting in Atlanta, it reaches into Alabama and is bringing in revenue and tourism to the Anniston area. It also works to preserve and conserve the history and heritage of the area.
The Silver Comet was named after the passenger train that traveled this area in 1947. Today, it is a great opportunity for outdoor lovers to enjoy the community while also giving back to the growth of the area. Construction of the trail is still ongoing, and time will tell when it will be fully realized. It only began in 1992, a mere 18 years ago.
What does this mean for north Jefferson? Well if we jump 18 years into the future, imagine with me 2028. This is only a few years away, too. Work on the Five Mile Creek project can parallel that seen with Chief Ladiga and is a rich opportunity for the north Jefferson area.
It will not be without pitfalls and challenges, but now is the time to consider the role of your city in the development of this project. Projects like this tend to increase tourism, benefit businesses, decrease crime and increase the quality of life. We have a constellation of north Jefferson cities that are a special treasure, and some would say a diamond in the rough.
According to the principal planner for Chief Ladiga, Jack Plunk, all should “stick together.” To paraphrase him, to see success in an endeavor such as this, cohesion is critical for a community. Take a moment to check out www.silvercometga.com or our own www.fivemilecreekpartnership.org to learn more about getting involved in the Greenway Partnership.
Special thanks to our new intern for representing our Fultondale community on the trip to visit the Chief Ladiga Trail and working to bring back this important information. Also, special thanks to her partnership in writing this brief summary. Jennifer’s work does not stop here. We have her busily leading our plans for Founder’s Day and our upcoming monthly meetings. She will be a key community partner, and her writing, enthusiasm and public speaking skills will be an asset to us.
And remember, take care of your customers, or someone else will.
You can find additional readings on my blog at http://businessadvise4u.blogspot.com. Teresa Vise works for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals and supports the Fultondale Chamber of Commerce.