City of Huntsville seeking input for Greenway expansion

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- As the holiday weekend approaches, many families may choose to spend an afternoon out on one of Huntsville's greenways.

This comes as the city is actively encouraging citizens to share where they would like to see the city expand the greenway network.

City leaders tell WHNT News 19, they already have plans in the works for some expansion projects that will not only connect greenway systems to each other, but will also link up different city parks.

They also want to hear from you to see where they should focus next.

Dennis Madsen, Director of Urban Planning for Huntsville, has heard from Huntsvillians loud and clear-- people want more greenways.

“Really start to take a look at how can we really build out an overall network that connects throughout the city," Madsen said.

The demand may be rising but the amount of funding has not kept up, so he's considering another approach.

“Pavement, curbed, piped. Very expensive mile per mile. We thought, let’s back out, let’s see if there’s a way can put these things on the ground without having to chew up quite as much capital on the front end," he said.

Before shelling out thousands, he wants to install some crushed gravel paths.

“Then as traffic kind of warrants, as you see a lot of activity on it, then when you start getting the funds down the road, you can come back in and lay down a paved path down," Madsen said.

Construction is already underway for connecting the Alridge Creek Greenway with Ditto Landing, and within a few years, he wants to see a trail system link up downtown destinations.

"Connecting all the parks to the west of downtown. Connecting Brahan Springs and Merrimack and John Hunt Park to Lowe Mill," he said.

The biggest demand seems to be connecting the North Indian Creek Greenway with its expansive southern counterpart.

The only problem, the connecting chunk is in Madison County. That's why they're teaming up with the North Alabama Land Trust for future projects.

“It’s nice to be able to have someone who can go back and forth between municipal boundaries and make sure these things are all getting connected," he said.

Connecting parks is just the beginning. At some point, Dennis would like for it to be possible to walk or bike all across Rocket City.

“Really start to take a look at how can we really build out an overall network that connects throughout the city," he said.

To weigh in on the conversation, go to the city's website and click on the comment section.