The newsletter of the Active Transportation Alliance

Volume 2, Issue 2 - March 2009


Trail ushers Englewood into new era

By Akane Tsuruta

 The proposed Englewood Trail is more than asphalt and paint.

“It is a new era,” said John Paul Jones, director of neighborhood parks and community relations at Friends of the Parks. “We are creating a new era around the trail: a new era of urban planning, sustainable communities and new economies.”

That’s why the trail is now being called the New Englewood Remaking America Trails, or “New ERA” Project. The proposed trail will be approximately 2.5 miles long and run from Hamilton Avenue on the west to Wallace Avenue on the east, along elevated, out-of-use rail tracks. It would connect the neighborhood to the proposed northern expansion of the Major Taylor Trail and would be a space for a larger green initiative in the community.

“It will be more than a trail for transportation; it will be a park where people can sit and walk and that is designed to reflect the local culture,” said Julie Samuels, community outreach coordinator with Openlands.

Along this linear park will be urban farms, murals, sculptures, open spaces for residents to come together to be healthy and active, recycled art, volunteer activities for youth groups, bike and pedestrian safety workshops, and opportunities to attract residents and energy-conscientious businesses.

“The trail gives outlets to be active, social and create art,” said Terina Cranshaw-Hodges, Englewood resident and executive director of Stay Environmentally Focus’d. “It creates a better atmosphere.”

The trail project is being led by Friends of the Parks, Openlands and Stay Environmentally Focus’d, along with many community organizations and Active Trans. In the coming months, the group will hold public sessions with community and civic leaders to discuss the design and development of the trail.

“Community members come to meetings, add encouragement, and provide a history of what was there before and what is great about the community,” Cranshaw-Hodges said.

The organizers plan to enter the trail design as a Legacy Project in the Burnham Centennial Project this spring with the hope that people can start using the trail as soon as 2012.

“The land has been vacant for decades; this trail will bring life back to the community,” Samuels said.

Cranshaw-Hodges agrees. “The community is ready to see vibrant life, flowers, art — a whole new vision.”

Akane Tsuruta is Active Transportation Alliance’s communications manager.

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