You may remember Where the Sidewalk Ends, the beloved children’s poetry collection penned and illustrated by Shel Silverstein in 1974. Nearly five decades later, it’s considered a classic by many.
However, another sidewalk of that era could not withstand the passage of time. We’re talking about the walkway along Weatherly Road in South Huntsville, which, after more than five decades of use, was showing its age.
The sidewalk, a narrow concrete path bordered by a strip of asphalt, was broken in numerous places. Tree roots protruded from the cracks, making it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to use. Something needed to be done. Something that would not only fix the problem but also enhance quality of life for residents and visitors.
The result is the project you now see underway on Weatherly. Some residents have taken to calling it “the Big Sidewalk.” The approximately 1.5-mile multi-use path runs from Bailey Cove Road to the east side of Memorial Parkway and provides a connector to Aldridge Creek Greenway.
“[The new path will give] long-distance runners and bikers an opportunity to experience both the beauty of the Tennessee River and the tranquility of the Hays Farm trails,” District 3 Council Member Jennie Robinson said.
When finished, the path will also connect to the Hays Farm development on the west side of Memorial Parkway. Once the next phase of greenway development is complete, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to take a 13-mile loop to the Tennessee River and back.
Robinson points out the safety benefits of the 8-foot-wide concrete path, which provides an even surface for those who will use it to bike and walk to Grissom High School and neighborhood businesses.
“It also provides a much-needed facelift for a main east-west connector that is a gateway to the Bailey Cove area,” she said.
Robinson expressed her thanks to Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick, whose district includes South Huntsville. His office contributed approximately $300,000 or about half the needed funds for the project.
Riddick said the path, which is about two-thirds complete, is recreational while also providing a mode of transportation east of the Parkway to Hays Farm. With the Market at Hays Farm open and more planned for the future, there’s much to look forward to in the City’s third district.
“There’s going to be a lot going on there,” Riddick said.
To learn more about how sidewalks play into the City’s long-range vision, visit our website.