City Opens Elgie’s Walk Greenway, Provides Singing River Trail Update
Published on December 9, 2020
Less than a month after opening Phase II of Haysland Road, City leaders came together today to debut a new greenway in South Huntsville.
Adjacent to Haysland Road, the Elgie’s Walk Greenway includes nearly 2.5 miles of a new 12-foot-wide multi-use path, stretching from Grissom High School to Bell Mountain Park on Redstone Road. The Elgie’s Walk Greenway is the first phase of an additional 5.3 miles of hard surface walking paths to be constructed at Hays Farm within the Rena and Elgie Hays Green Park.
The Hays Farm Greenway system will connect to a vast regional network of trails, known as the Singing River Trail, as well as the City of Huntsville’s existing trail system.
The Rena and Elgie Hays Green Park, also known as Hays Green, features over 440 acres of preserved open space, a beautiful tupelo gum forest, and multiple water features and natural springs. For the first time, the public will be able to enjoy land that has been in the Hays Family for over 100 years. Rena and Elgie Hays were the grandparents of local developer, John Hays, and purchased the land for Hays Farm in 1906. The land has been a working family farm for the last century.
Phase III of Haysland Road construction will include two new roadway connections at Edinburgh Drive and Jackson’s Bend. The Edinburgh Drive extension is under design with construction beginning as soon as Summer 2021. Additionally, the City is working on a design for a new two-mile greenway south of Redstone Road, connecting to the Tennessee River West Greenway at Ditto Landing.
“The City is thrilled to be a part of this plan and to work with Mr. Hays to see this incredible vision come to life,” said City Engineering Director Kathy Martin.
Quality of Life
The City’s greenways and trails, including the new Elgie’s Walk Greenway, provide countless opportunities for a better quality of life, economic renewal, and growth.
“With more spaces to walk, bike, and run, our residents can enjoy the outdoors and take in the beauty of nature around us,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “It’s no secret greenways and trails support health and wellness, promote tourism, and increase property values. They also serve as a great workforce development tool, as many companies looking to locate here want better recreation and transportation opportunities for their employees.”
Elgie’s Walk Greenway fits into the City’s BIG Picture, a plan that incorporates citizen ideas to position Huntsville for long-term success and vitality. Within the plan, the City is executing the community’s vision for a connected system of trails and greenways to benefit the public.
Dennis Madsen, manager of urban and long-range planning for the City, said today’s ribbon cutting and subsequent growth mark another chapter in Huntsville’s efforts to provide more opportunities to access and enjoy the outdoors.
“This is great for South Huntsville, but also reflects a broader, citywide commitment to developing greenways, connecting neighborhoods, and improving the quality of life for all Huntsvillians,” he said.
City Council President Dr. Jennie Robinson, who represents District 3, said Elgie’s Walk Greenway is an exciting addition to Huntsville’s growing inventory of public trails.
“It will not only make it easy for students to safely bike and walk to Grissom High School, but provides the community access to a beautiful setting featuring woods and water in the Hays Farm development,” she said. “It will also eventually connect to the Tennessee River via the Singing River Trail and Ditto Landing and later to Aldridge Creek Greenway on the east side of the park, providing miles of trails for Huntsville residents.”
John Kvach, executive director for the Singing River Trail (SRT), said the SRT will connect people, places, and ideas throughout North Alabama from Scottsboro to Sheffield along the Tennessee River.
“The partnership between the Singing River Trail and Hays Farm comes from years of hard work that got us to today’s event,” he said. “The City of Huntsville, the Hays Family, the Land Trust of North Alabama, and dozens of individuals and organizations have worked hard to improve the quality of life and connectivity of the city and its people. This is the model that SRT will use across our region and along the trail route: public and private partnerships, the blending of regional interests, and working to find solutions that bind us together to create a trail that will serve as a center of health and wellness, educational learning, and economic opportunity. The Singing River Trail at Hays Farm is just the start of a green ribbon that will connect all of North Alabama.”
Land Trust Executive Director Marie Bostick said her organization worked closely with multiple City departments to see Elgie’s Walk Greenway become a reality and ensure connectivity was seamless.
“The Land Trust is excited to help offer connections to nature through this collaboration with the City,” she said. “This newest greenway creates access to another natural gem and all the benefits being outdoors can provide.”
Hays Farm is an 850-acre master planned community in South Huntsville. The land was farmed for over a century and over 440 acres will remain as preserved green space with a vast trail system.
“The Rena and Elgie Hays Green Park will be available for the public to enjoy and explore,” said Hays. “The greenway system will be part of a world-class park for the people of Huntsville for generations to come.”
Bekah Schmidt, executive director of the South Huntsville Main Business Association, looks forward to seeing the full project come to fruition.
“We would like to thank the City of Huntsville and the Hays family for this significant investment in South Huntsville’s parks and greenway system,” she said. “Not only do greenways enhance the quality of life of residents in a community, the new greenway at Hays Farm and the Singing River Trail’s presence in South Huntsville will bolster economic and business activity in South Huntsville.”