Oaklands, Murfree Springs wetlands boosted

As published in the Murfreesboro Post, December 21, 2007

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon has secured federal funding to protect green spaces and wetlands in Rutherford County.

Legislation passed by Congress includes $1.8 million to complete ecosystem restoration work on the grounds of the Oaklands Historic House Museum and protect the Murfree Springs wetlands.

“Rutherford County is fortunate to have natural and historic sites that contribute to our rich history and are preserved at places like Oaklands, StonesMurfreeSpring River Battlefield, the Sam Davis Home and Bradley Academy,” Gordon said.  “The agricultural and environmental areas at Oaklands may inspire students to pursue careers in those fields.”

Plans include removal of invasive plant species, creation of additional wetlands areas, enhancements to trails at Oakland Springs and installation of equipment to improve the quality of the wetlands.

Previous Corps work, completed with funding secured by Gordon, has included restoration of the wetlands areas and a Tennessee Trail of Trees at Oaklands, which includes more than 100 different tree species native to Tennessee.

The bill also includes $424,000 to enhance trails in Rutherford County along the East Fork of the Stones River, beginning at Walter Hill Dam.  The trail improvements will eventually link Smyrna, La Vergne and Nashville’s greenways and complement efforts already underway in Rutherford County.

“Middle Tennessee’s natural beauty is part of what makes our area such a desirable place to live and raise family,”Gordon said.  “As our county grows, it’s important to preserve our green spaces and protect our wetlands for future generations.”

Design is nearing completion on a segment of greenway in Murfreesboro that will extend to the south, connecting Old Fort Park to Highway 99 and eventually continuing to Barfield Crescent Park.  To the north, initial planning is underway on a segment from the Siegel schools area to Walter Hill.  In addition, Smyrna and La Vergne officials also plan to connect their cities’ greenways.

Two separate trail sections will be planned using federal funding, and those sections will eventually connect Rutherford County and Nashville’s greenways.  One of the segments will run from Walter Hill Dam to Smyrna, and the other segment will connect Smyrna and La Vergne’s greenways with Nashville’s through Long Hunter State Park.

“Nashville’s planners are working to bring the greenway from downtown to Long Hunter, and that effort will complement efforts to connect Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne’s greenways to provide a network of trails throughout the area,” Gordon said.  “As they connect our neighborhoods to parks and schools, they allow residents to walk or bike more and provide an alternative to driving a car.”

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