Preserve the Greenspace at the Cason Trailhead
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As residents of Murfreesboro, we reject any suggestion that rezoning or developing the established greenspace that borders our city’s Greenway, north of the Cason Trailhead and west of the Stones River, to build homes or high-density condos will add any value to the city. Murfreesboro’s greenspaces are limited and are disappearing quickly. We must preserve and protect the few greenspaces we have left for future generations and current residents who love this city and chose Murfreesboro because it offers a higher quality of life and provides an alternative to the congested concrete cities that many of us moved here to escape!
We believe this proposed rezoning and development is ill-conceived and lacks the due diligence necessary to ensure that this proposal is even safe or feasible. We have seen no statements of impact on traffic or the environment (water and wildlife). The development of the greenspace at Cason Trailhead would dramatically damage the quality of life for residents living close to the proposed site, as well as for all Murfreesboro residents who utilize the public Greenway system for the many benefits it offers. There are many reasons for opposing any plans to develop this land, but the ones that cause us greatest concern are outlined below.
- This greenspace borders a well-loved and highly utilized section of the Murfreesboro Greenway System. There are hundreds of residents who regularly walk or ride bikes to the park from their home in the neighborhood and others who drive to the park to take kids to the large playground area, hold special events under the public pavilions, visit the new dog park, use the river access points, and walk/run/skate/and ride bikes along the paths located at this trailhead. The proposed development would require park visitors to share the same area and the same park entrance (there is only one) with a steady flow of large concrete trucks, construction equipment, and material delivery trucks during the construction phase, and an additional 600-800 more vehicles belonging to residents coming and going after construction is completed. We believe that the additional traffic would exacerbate an already hazardous situation for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians, especially since the streets leading to the park do not have sidewalks.
- According to “The 2040 Murfreesboro Transportation Plan”, published by the City of Murfreesboro, a “Bicycle/ Pedestrian Demand Intensity Map” was generated based on data collected in 2013. That map indicates that Cason Lane and Cason Trail were both identified as having a “high level of demand for bike/pedestrian facilities” and “should be targeted for improvements”. These numbers have increased even more since 2013, and these are the very streets that would be impacted the most by the proposed development since Cason Trail would be the one and only street providing access to the proposed site and Cason Lane is the primary street used to enter and exit the neighborhood.
- The volume of traffic currently flowing in and out of the neighborhoods near this trailhead is already at maximum capacity. Cason Lane (a “Community Collector” street) exceeds 13,800 Vehicles per Day (VPD) according to data published in 2016. This exceeds the number of 8,000 VPD, suggested in the City’s Transportation Report to be the maximum limit, by over fifty percent! It is no longer uncommon for residents to have to sit through 2 light changes when trying to enter or exit the neighborhood onto New Salem or Hwy 96. We simply cannot handle adding any additional vehicles to the congested streets of Cason Grove and bordering neighborhoods. This volume of traffic creates a chaotic, stressful experience and potential danger to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Idling cars that are stuck in long lines of traffic contribute to pollution and air quality issues.
- This established greenspace is currently home to many generations of deer, racoon, wild geese, squirrels, groundhogs, skunks, coyotes, rabbits, and other wildlife that are truly running out of new greenspaces to relocate to when buildings displace them. Many residents enjoy the Greenway because of the opportunity to see wildlife and native trees in a natural environment. Displaced wildlife will disperse into our streets and yards and seek shelter in neighborhood structures which will cause problems (skunks, raccoons, moles, possums) or car accidents (deer). An example of potential dangers occurred a couple months ago when the TWRA confirmed a bobcat spotting in the crowded parking lot of a restaurant less than a mile from this same area!
- This proposed development is in a flood-prone area. This greenspace typically fills with pooling water after a day of heavy rain. Destroying the trees and paving over the area that currently filters and absorbs all the run-off water will create a flooding problem for the residents who live in this neighborhood. The excess water needs to be absorbed, as it is now, because the river also floods and spills out onto the greenway after heavy rains. We cannot accept exacerbating a potential flood risk with new construction that causes the run-off water to flow back into our yards and homes.
- Greenspaces are also a great benefit to the health of the city. A loss of trees results in a loss of plants that produce oxygen and filter pollutants from the air to keep it clean. They provide shade and lower temperatures in urban areas and reduce erosion of soil into our waterways. We need more trees, not fewer!
- Our unique Greenway System and greenspaces provide Murfreesboro residents with a place to exercise, enjoy nature, and briefly escape from the noise and stress of hectic lives. If we don’t preserve this greenspace, residents who visit this portion of the Greenway will hear the noise generated by hundreds of residents practically living on top of the Greenway instead of the peaceful sounds of nature and the river, and they will be looking at yet another wall of concrete instead of the beauty of trees, plants and wildflowers. Just like the wildlife is running out of places to go, so are the residents who realize the benefits of a quiet walk in nature!
This land should not be rezoned or developed. It should be preserved for the benefit of everyone. The Murfreesboro City website states: “The Murfreesboro Greenway System serves as a conservation corridor to preserve precious natural and cultural resources.” We would very much appreciate it if you would revisit this statement and remember why it was important enough to include in your description of what makes Murfreesboro so special.
On the same website, the Mission Statement reads: “The City of Murfreesboro strives to provide a safe, progressive, and healthy community for its citizens by employing dedicated individuals who work together to ensure the highest possible quality of life. Your city is committed to creating a better quality of life and making Murfreesboro a great city in which to live, work, and play.” To carry out this mission, “Your City Council is committed to listening to the voice of the community and providing opportunities for your voice to be heard.” We appreciate each of you taking the time to hear our voice, consider our very valid concerns, and understand why saving this greenspace is so important to this neighborhood and this city.
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