Buckling up for the Greenbelt

Collierville plans to extend the Greenbelt through St. George’s property


Photo: Jacob Peeples

Women ride bikes along the Greenline in Memphis, Tenn. The Greenbelt, a similar trail, could someday come through the St. George’s Collierville Campus.

The St. George’s Collierville campus may be expecting a new addition, courtesy of the town of Collierville. Discussions have been taking place about part of the Greenbelt being placed on campus property.

The Collierville Greenbelt system is the city’s attempt to connect public places with trails for biking and walking. However, cooperation from all private property holders in the city is required in order for the city to achieve their goal.

“We have been awarded a $500,000 grant from the State of TN for Phase I development of the Wolf River Boulevard Greenbelt Trail that will begin at the Claridge Pet Resort and end with a wildlife observation deck in the Halle-Robbins Nature Preserve,” said Greg Clark, assistant director of Parks, Recreations and Cultural Arts.

Plans for the proposed Greenbelt section are not finalized, so the proposed section could fall through. Administrators at St. George’s have given Collierville the ground plans and are awaiting the town’s proposal plan for where the Greenbelt could be built. However, with the Collierville campus having over 250 acres of property, administrators are unsure about its exact location.

Negotiations have not yet begun between the city and the school, leaving many concerns unaddressed. Depending on where the Greenbelt is proposed, it may or may not be possible because of a variety of problems such as foot traffic and river access.

Despite the possible negative effects, having the Greenbelt on campus could still be welcomed as a positive addition to the campus, as St. George’s is already focused on the outdoors. Collierville has said that the Greenbelt will be used primarily as another way of transportation, although it will still be a recreational path that connects to many parks and public places.

“Designed for over sixty miles of trails and sidewalks connecting parks, schools, neighborhoods and commercial district, the system encourages our citizens to use these easily accessible trails to reach their destination,” Mr. Clark said. The path may be welcomed by many because of how it connects the school to other nearby places.

The Greenbelt may even be of use to certain classes and extracurriculars. Senior Richard Kuehn, who runs varsity cross country, believes that the Greenbelt may add diversity to the team’s running routes.

“We don’t have many different trails here,” Kuehn said. “We always run the same trails over and over again.”

A school’s resources can often add to its appeal, and Assistant Director of Admissions Mrs. Sheridan Woods vouches for its ability to attract students.

Mrs. Woods said that she thinks the new addition would highlight the Collierville campus and added that she would mention it on all of her tours. Because her tours stress the surrounding environment, she thinks having the Greenbelt would add to the resources she uses to persuade students to attend St. George’s.

Associate Head of School Mr. Will Bladt is hopeful for the project, but he expressed concerns about the possible proposed location and students having access to the Wolf River.

“Do we have a say on where it goes?” Mr. Bladt said. “Is putting it right up against the river and keeping access points for us the best choice? I cannot say.”

The added flow of traffic is also a pressing concern. At the end of the school day, there is always an increase in traffic, and the Greenbelt may cause more traffic depending on where it crosses the street. There are already school zones in place to help with safety, but the added foot traffic could cause additional congestion.

St. George’s is also a private campus, and having a widely used public pathway running through campus would open the campus to unidentified persons, causing security problems.

Mrs. Woods pointed out that even without the Greenbelt, our walkways, tennis courts and pool are all shared with the community. We have outside traffic on our campus everyday already, even without the Greenbelt.

Whether or not these concerns are legitimate will be determined by Collierville’s proposition. Nothing is set in stone as of yet, but most seem hopeful that our campus may have part of the Greenbelt to call our own soon.