My name is Liz Stevens, McKnight Neighborhood resident and member of the McKnight Neighborhood resident. I refer to Neil's notebook on a regular basis as I continue the work that Neil started. This is my first attempt at blogging. For my next attempt I will try to add more pictures. Wish me luck!!
Since the last posting - May 2010 - lots of background work has been going on. The McKnight Neighborhood Council(MNC) is the organization that is working on this rail-trail. We continue to focus on the steps to build a trail: land acquisition, trail design, trail construction. At this point, the McKnight Neighborhood Council is focusing on the first phase - land acquisition. We will need to find the funds to purchase the land!
To put us in the position to ask people for the large amount of funds to buy the land from the railroad, we need to ask people for smaller amounts of funds for a land appraisal, environmental assessments, an engineering study and, maybe, a title search. We have started the process. The land appraisal was funded by Partners for a Healthier Community and has been completed. I should have the copies later today.
I have submitted 5 trail-related grant applications this year. Two organizations turned down our requests. Two organizations have given us promises which, hopefully, will come to fruition this year. The last organization should notify us soon one way or another. (We applied for a grant from them - Kodak American Greenways Foundation- last year, got turned down through a letter dated in September. We didn't hear from them yet - maybe that is a good sign.)
In the meantime, I have been learning more about creating a budget for this part of the work and putting together a few work projects.
April 30, 2011 was the 2011 Keep Springfield Beautiful Day. Our clean-up project was on a smaller scale than 2010 but we still accomplished a LOT of trash removal. We worked on a section located near the corner of Bay and Dawes Street, going south to the True Vine Pentecostal Church. We had about 20 volunteers that morning. If you haven't volunteered for Keep Springfield Beautiful day in the past, this is what happens. A wonderful group of volunteers spend a year planning how to get rid of all the trash that will get picked up. They get help from the city of Springfield and many private companies. They also plan how to provide lunch for the volunteers. Then they do the really hard part of arranging for GOOD WEATHER. Once again we were blessed with good weather. I got advice from my friend Mike Cass, the Springfield graffiti tsar, about how to organize our trash piles. We separated the trash into tires, metal, electronics and miscellaneous. By noon we had done our work and lunch was dropped off - yummy sandwiches, fruit, cookies and water.
At the recommendation of one of our potential grantors, in August I attended a meeting of the State Street Alliance. I asked for and received their support for this project. I am just waiting for that official letter of support but I have been assured that it is in the mail.
A fall clean-up project was held in conjunction with Springfield College Humanics in Action Day. Five students, one alumni, myself, and two of my granddaughters (Marion and Stephanie) removed stuff dumped on a section of the abandoned rail line that is accessible from Albany Street. Pieces of cabinet, electronic, fencing - that kind of stuff - was removed. Thanks to the city of Springfield, the stuff has been or will be hauled away. Then the city of Springfield or Buckeye Pipeline will block off that access to TRY to prevent more dumping.