As I passed Raymond C. Hand Park, I turned left, heading towards Robb Avenue. As I stopped at the end of Farris Street, I spotted a trail between two houses. I crossed Robb Avenue and entered the trail, passing the sign that read “Austin Peay State University Greenway.”

The trail turned left, and then it sloped down a hill. As it reached the bottom, it curved around the woods and then zigzagged past the trees. A few daffodils and small purple flowers dotted the grass beside the road as the singing of birds filled my ears. As I walked farther into the trail, the woods began to disperse, and I was now circling Emerald Hill where the Pace Alumni Center stood at the top.

It was a cool Friday afternoon on March 19 when I walked on the new APSU Greenway trail. No one stood in front of the Pace Alumni Center on that day, but there were people during the ribbon cutting on Tuesday, March 16 at 11 a.m.  

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Community Health Foundation and the APSU Sustainable Campus Fee Committee funded the APSU Greenway, according to a ClarksvilleNow article by Payton Baggett.

The trail stretched from Robb Avenue to Kraft Street, connecting to the Clarksville Riverwalk beside Red River and the Cumberland River.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, people gathered around the center as APSU 11th President Michael Licari, APSU Sustainability Coordinator Olivia Herron, Clarksville-Montgomery County Community Health Foundation Board Member Jeff Bibb, and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts spoke about the APSU Greenway.

President Licari said that the Greenway will be “a valuable resource in many ways for future generations of Governors.”

“We are excited to get to know all of you and to foster the meaningful partnerships that this institution has built into Clarksville and surrounding communities,” President Licari said during his speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We will continue to strive for students’ success and to ensure that our graduates would go on and make a difference in this area, our region, our state and our nation.”

Bibb stated that the APSU Greenway is “a huge accomplishment.” Herron thanked the CMC Community Health Foundation and Sustainable Campus Fee Committee for securing the funding for the APSU Greenway and hoped that the trail would offer commuters of APSU alternative transportation, including biking and walking and would improve their health and save money.  

“Commuting to work via bike or by walking is known to improve productivity, happiness, and your physical health,” Herron said. “And if we can help people switch their car for walking and biking, we hope they will save money and look at that as an opportunity to reinvest our beautiful community and, perhaps, in projects like this.”

I agree with them. The APSU Greenway is a nice trail with a beautiful and peaceful environment. It is surrounded by the city, but it still has a spot for nature. There is also a great view of North Riverside Drive, where Two Rivers Mall Shopping Center is, and North Second Street.

Seeing it makes me feel connected to Clarksville and nature as I could see the busy streets while also seeing the beautiful hill and wildlife. The trail is convenient on campus for those who love to walk. It is also convenient for jogging. I felt refreshed after walking through the APSU Greenway and the Clarksville Riverwalk, which was also a nice experience.

Other people complemented the APSU Greenway during the ribbon-cut ceremony, including Clarksville Ward 6 Councilwoman Wanda Smith. Smith said that the trail will save gas on cars and lessen the pollution in Clarksville.

She also said that it will give people “more opportunity to exercise” and “bring the community together as one.”

“I just think it’s a great idea. I mean, I think we made the right decision when we voted in favor of this,” Smith said.

 Garrett Rye, a sophomore student at APSU, also enjoyed the trail. He said that the trail was “built in a good spot for Austin Peay in a way.”

“I think it would be a nice addition to the college,” Ryesaid.

Allied Health Sciences professor Jane Semler is excited for the trail’s future as it will connect APSU and the Clarksville community.

“It’s a beautiful trail and a wonderful way to connect Austin Peay State University to the Clarksville community,” Semler said. “So, I think it’s going to be a great addition to Clarksville’s Greenways, and I’m really excited that Austin Peay can participate in that.”

I am also hopeful for the trail’s future as students, faculty and the Clarksville community would use it to connect with the city and campus. It is a good alternative for walking towards the Clarksville Riverwalk without going downtown for those who are concerned with safety or those who just want to enjoy nature. I am also excited for the future of other trails as Mayor Pitts announced about the upcoming construction of a pedestrian bridge that will cross over Red River from the Clarksville Riverwalk to the Pollard Road Trail.

“This provides a vital link between the campus and downtown and to the northern part of our community makes us walkable, healthier, progressive and environmentally responsible,” Mayor Pitts said.

The expansion of the Greenway will hopefully help Clarksville become more environmentally friendly and attract new Clarksville residents, APSU students, and faculty to learn more about the city and its growing potential.