Greenways are good ways

Published 12:20 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

Members of the Selma City Council Recreation Committee have talked about hiking and bike areas across the city and making Selma “walkable.”

The committee will hold a public forum Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall to discuss these issues.

Residents of the area who can attend, should.

Part of the livability in any city is its ability to accommodate everyone by setting aside land — corridors of protected open space managed for recreation and conservation purposes.

The greenways include trails. Some do not. Some appeal to people. Others are to protect wildlife.

Beyond the touchy-feely benefits of having greenways, there are hard-core realizations.

Charles E. Little wrote “Greenways for America,” in which he explained the benefits of these places. “To make a greenway is to make a community,” Little said.

These trails and hiking and biking areas; these places to walk provide opportunities for economic renewal and growth.

The property values increase by the sheer cleaning up of these sites. Then come the benefits of tourism and recreation-related spending on items, such as in-line skates and bicycles and lodging.

Additionally, retail businesses usually pop up along the routes, offering anything from running/walking shoes to organic meals to various waters, coffees or teas.

Little pointed out that a 1992 National Park Study estimated the average economic activity associated with three multi-purpose trails in Florida, California and Iowa was $1.5 million annually.

In a similar study conducted in 1995 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said bird watcher spend more than $5.2 million each year.

And health?

If you put the paths close to homes most people will exercise, especially if the areas are safe and attractive.

These are inexpensive ways to get into healthy habits of walking and bicycling or running.

The recreation committee should be praised for coming out with this idea.

We in Selma should support this idea and contribute to seeing it through to fruition.

After all, the community needs to preserve its open spaces and what better way than to take into consideration the health and well-being of the people who live and visit here.