On Wednesday, November 29, community members interested in supporting or learning more about the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway expansion can attend a community interest meeting at 6 p.m. at Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, located at 2408 East Lamar Alexander Parkway.

The interest meeting will share updates and information on the greenway expansion project, along with ways community members can get involved and share their enthusiasm and support.

The proposed Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway will provide 14 miles of trail connecting Maryville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – part of a larger regional effort to link pedestrians and cyclists from Knoxville to the Smokies through a greenway trail.

The Blount Partnership is the coordinating organization helping lead the effort to gather community engagement, refine the Greenway route and create a funding strategy, in partnership with Legacy Parks Foundation and a consortium of organizations including Alcoa City Government, Appalachian Regional Commission, Blount County Government, Great Smoky Mountains Regional Greenway Council, Maryville City Government, the City of Townsend and Maryville / Alcoa / Blount County Parks & Rec.

The group conducted an extensive study in recent years to examine multiple options for developing the trail, as well as a fiscal analysis and economic impact overview.

Blount Partnership Director of Tourism Kim Mitchell expects positive Greenway impacts for Blount County tourism, and regional health and citizen quality of life benefits.

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major destination and the most-visited national park in the nation, so expanding its appeal to include the outlying greenway in Blount County for walking, running and biking means

a strong tourism impact,” said Mitchell. “The trail will also provide safer and improved transit options for pedestrians and bicyclists, and health and wellness benefits for area residents.”

The community interest meeting comes on the heels of a recent public support initiative for the Greenway: the #LoveMyGreenway social media photo contest, which concluded on November 10, 2017.

Community members entered their photos taken along the Blount Greenway System, sharing the many ways to enjoy the local greenway for the chance to win weekly prizes.

The contest was beneficial in raising awareness and public interest in the Greenway and expansion. Overall, the contest led to over 60,000 impressions on Facebook and Twitter and nearly 2,000 likes, comments and shares.

For more information on the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway, visit https://www.blountchamber.com/community/greenway/.

About Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion:

The Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway will include a paved trail within the right-of-way of Lamar Alexander Parkway / Highway 321 connecting the Maryville and Alcoa paved Greenway system – totaling 21 miles – and the existing nine-mile Townsend Greenway. The connection between Maryville and Townsend is a key element in the vision to link Knoxville to Townsend, a gateway to the Smoky Mountains.

This year is a ramp-up for funding to complete and implement the first phase of the trail. A mix of funding possibilities is being pursued, including foundations and private donations. Community outreach is a major component to raise awareness for potential funding. The community will see more about the full scope throughout the summer ahead. To view the full Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion Master Plan, visit knoxblounttrail.org.