Phase one of Greenfield Global trail complete

Community members gathered on Grand Avenue West for the unveiling of the new Greenfield Global trail. Photo by Michael Hugall)

Community members gathered outside of St. Clair College in Chatham Thursday morning to unveil the early stages of a multi-purpose trail that will be long enough to host a half-marathon.

“I’ll tell you this was a long-held dream for many people in Chatham-Kent,” said Dianne Flook, president of the Chatham-Kent trails council. “It was simply a dream, we were wishful thinking and then Greenfield Global came to town.”

A three-phase project is being implemented by the municipality with the help of Greenfield Global, which has an ethanol plant in Chatham.

The first phase was unveiled and is roughly three kilometres in length. By the time the project is complete, however, Flook said it will be roughly 21 kilometres long.

“It will travel from the Parry Bridge to Prairie Siding Bridge,” she said. “Phase one is off the road but it has to join in with a paved shoulder on both sides, that’s because we didn’t want to encroach on private property, which we haven’t and won’t.”

Flook said she’s excited for the trail to be complete, adding that people who use trails are generally good citizens. One of those citizens is Joseph Sebben, an avid cyclist who was present for the trail’s grand opening.

“I think it’s wonderful that there is a trail for people to bike on,” said Sebben. “I would just like to see it expand and see more trails that bike and people friendly and are sort of away from vehicles and cars.”

Despite having more pathways to ride on, Sebben said he and fellow bikers like to ride on the road on Grand Avenue and is hopeful even with new trails drivers will still be courteous and share the road.

“It’s important drivers or cars know that they need to give us some room no matter where we are,” said Sebben.