When the new aquatic center opens in Greenwood next summer, families from all over the city will come to Freedom Park to swim, splash and cool down.
But before that happens, city officials are ensuring that people can get to the park in the safest, easiest way possible.
The Greenwood parks department is planning to build a half-mile extension of trail connecting Freedom Park to the neighborhoods surrounding it. The trail will be vital in ensuring families can walk or ride bikes to the new aquatic park when it opens in 2015, said Rob
Taggart, director of the parks department.
“We want to make sure people can get to the new aquatic center safely and easily,” he said.
The new trail will start on Averitt Road, where sidewalks already are built extending south from Smith Valley Road. Where the sidewalk ends, the trail will continue farther south, until reaching the Freedom Park entrance near Stop 18 Road.
It will then turn west and connect with the park’s trail loop. The newly built trail will be slightly less than a half-mile, Taggart said.
The new aquatic center will include a lap pool, 600-foot lazy river and water slides. The lazy river will have a bridge and a waterfall. The cost of construction is $7.2 million.
When it opens in May 2015, the center will replace the city pool, which was closed in 2012 due to safety concerns.
The city recently received bids for the cost of the new trail of between about $100,000 and $130,000, Taggart said. Earlier in the year, the city set aside $65,000 to pay for the cost of the design and construction of the trails. That could be supplemented with $30,000 from the parks department general fund, which has been earmarked for trail projects.
The project is expected to begin in the coming weeks, and Taggart would like to see it all done by the end of October.
“You’re dealing with asphalt, and that means when it gets too cold, you can’t lay asphalt down. I’m pushed by the climate,” he said.
The new trail at Freedom Park is one of multiple ongoing trail expansions in the county.
Franklin is attempting to link 750 homes in the Knollwood Farms neighborhood with its existing trail system and also has discussed adding more trails on the east side of the city.
The hope is to eventually create a city-wide loop, connecting schools, parks and the downtown area.
Greenwood has more than 20 miles of connected trails and sidewalks within city limits. Future projects could include extending walkways past State Road 135, north along County Line Road and to the farthest southern boundary of the city.