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    New section of Greenway connects Germantown, Memphis

    Sara Patterson - The Commercial Appeal -

    The mayors of Memphis and Germantown met under the cypress, willow and oak trees near the newest Greenway connection Friday to celebrate what A C Wharton called the invisible power of the ever-expanding trails.

    "You know, it's very easy to find things for us to separate on and have disagreements about — is that correct?" he asked, looking back at Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy. "But think of the golden opportunity such as this — not to build fences or walls or doors but to build natural trails which do not separate us along any lines."

    After a ribbon-cutting near the relatively new Wolf River Bridge, a trail officially opened connecting about 2.6 miles of Wolf River Greenway to 2.5 miles of Germantown Greenway, enabling pedestrian and cyclical travel along the bank of the Wolf River from Walnut Grove Road to Kimbrough Road.

    Goldsworthy, who spoke before Wharton at the ceremony, said the connection was significant not only because it represented an "enormous" amount of partnerships, but also because of the value of having a new natural space to enjoy.

    "Our own patch of grass around our house may not be enough for us to adequately commune with nature," she said. "Greenways, as well as parkland, are very important for the refreshing of the human spirit."

    Goldsworthy said Germantown is searching for funding that would allow for two more miles of eastern expansion of the 10-foot-wide pathway to the new Wolf River Boulevard Connector between Kimbrough and Farmington that is under construction.

    Germantown Alderman Mark Billingsley, who was present at the opening, said he's been "amazed" by the amount of activity visible on the Greenway daily.

    "I see so many families that come together out here," he said. "This is just really going to be great for Memphis and for Germantown."

    The Greenway is managed by the Wolf River Conservancy with partnerships between government, business, community groups and nonprofits. Executive director Keith Cole took to the podium to thank Henry and Snow Morgan for land donations making the connection possible. Bayard Morgan, son of Henry and Snow, said he was "pleased" his family had decided to share the backyard of his childhood with people across the region.

    "We're so proud to have played a role in this," he said.