HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — There are 42 miles of active greenways across the city of Huntsville with another 9 miles in development. One of the newest greenway connections in process will link Alabama A&M University to Sparkman Drive/US Hwy 72 East. The 1.65 mile, 12-foot-wide segment includes a raised pedestrian crossing at Mastin Lake Road, as well as a parking area. It is designed to function like other urban greenways and carries the name of a highly respected North Huntsville advocate, Opal Meek.
Meek is what some might call a community hero. "We really, really need this greenway. North Huntsville doesn't have any greenways. South Huntsville has greenways. If we don't have any greenways, how are we going to connect? "We've got to get our greenways going. We need our greenways desperately. So, so the sooner the better. I am getting old and getting older now, and I want to be able to walk on this greenway," Meek stated.
The city of Huntsville has heard meek loud and clear and is partnering with Land Trust to implement and expand greenways named in her honor. Land Trust Executive Director Marie Bostick said it is truly amazing to see what one person can do if they just care enough to get out there and do it. "Just a little update on the greenway planning effort that we've got going on. We do have now over 40 miles of greenway in the city of Huntsville and we have almost 40 more planned in the capital budget. That means there's money in the bank ready to do it, ready to get going on it. We have 9 miles just about right now that's under acquisition and construction that's happening in the community right now, and of course, that's just a part of this overall plan, which is got 170 miles to go. So we've got our, we've got ourselves a lot to do over the next several years. We're not going to get bored. It's an ambitious plan, but it's something that we believe, especially with folks like Ms. Meek pushing us every day that we can get done," Bostick explained.
The Meek Greenway will provide a key bridge for a future greenway link to downtown. It is included in the city's long-term goal to create a 264-mile greenway network throughout Huntsville.