TDEC, TDOT Help Kingsport Build Nationally Recognized Greenway
Program Name: Recreation Trails Program
Agency Partners: Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Community Partner: City of Kingsport
In a state that ranks 45 out of 50 states in overall health, opportunities for fun ways of getting exercise are important. That’s why TDEC, TDOT and the City of Kingsport are working together to create such an opportunity in Kingsport, while also moving Governor Haslam’s Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative forward. Created in the 1970s, the Greenbelt has continued to grow over time. There are four main sections of the Greenbelt: the Boatyard District, the Woodlawn District, the Cherokee Grounds Section, and the Buffalo Grasslands Section. The Buffalo Grasslands Section surrounds 10 acres of wetlands that may have at one time served as pasture for buffalo. This section of Greenbelt was funded by a $120,000 grant from TDEC’s Recreation Trails Program.
In 2014, the Greenbelt also received a sizeable grant from TDOT. In 2015, work began on the Rotherwood Bridge extension, and the wooden boardwalk has recently been completed on the Kingsport side of the Holston. This past December, city leaders approved a grant application for a second TDOT grant that would help pay for an expansion of the western portion.
The Kingsport Greenbelt’s current eight miles provide a fun and engaging opportunity to get some exercise with numerous sites to see along its length, including a wetland preservation area, wildflowers, two historic sites, a trailhead skate park, natural springs and a suspension bridge. The Greenbelt is a popular destination for walkers, bikers and runners of all ages. Kingsport’s Greenbelt has gained popularity both inside the city and out. The Greenbelt has been featured in Southern Living, was designated by Walk Magazine as a “Best City for Walkers” and has received an award from the White House.