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Tennessee RiverLine Announces Community Planning Initiative

By  | June 19, 2022 | Filed under: News

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system, has announced the launch of its Community Planning Initiative (CPI). CPI is a two-year community outreach program that will empower participating river communities with an understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and aspirations relative to their relationship with the Tennessee River, and provide them with tools to make progress toward fulfilling those aspirations.


The multi-phase initiative culminates in fall 2023 with the development of conceptual design and grant application materials for a Tennessee RiverLine project identified by each community, which could include new riverfront parks, campsites and access points, connective trails and greenways, and other related outdoor recreation infrastructure investments.


Phase I of the CPI begins in June 2022 with a public engagement program called 652 to YOU: a series of purposefully designed events and interactive planning activities facilitated in each community by the Tennessee RiverLine team. 652 to YOU is an opportunity for community leaders and residents to provide feedback about existing recreation experiences and infrastructure on or along the river, while also sharing ideas for their improvement and expansion through new investments. The results of 652 to YOU include recommendations for how each community can make progress toward their aspirations related to the Tennessee RiverLine.


Communities participating in Phase I of the CPI, and their 652 to YOU program dates are:


  • Calvert City, Kentucky: June 9-10
  • Clifton, Tennessee: June 23-25
  • Decatur, Alabama: July 9-12
  • Huntsville, Alabama: July 27-29
  • Guntersville, Alabama: August 4-6
  • Hardin County, Tennessee: August 18-20

These six communities will enter Phase II of the CPI in 2023, and will be joined by The Shoals and Bridgeport, Alabama; Paducah, Kentucky; and Roane County, TN, who completed the 652 to YOU program in 2019. During Phase II, the Tennessee RiverLine team will continue collaborating with community leaders and residents to develop a conceptual design, a funding strategy, and grant application materials for a single Tennessee RiverLine project identified by each participating community as an investment priority. These materials can then be used to build public support and make progress toward project implementation.


CPI is made possible by funding through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge in qualifying rural communities, as well as through the generous support of 3M Decatur with funds from the 3M Foundation, and the Tennessee RiverLine’s principal partners, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


“The Tennessee RiverLine Community Planning Initiative will bring capacity, expertise and resources to participating communities that empower them to transform their relationship with their most valuable natural and cultural resource: the Tennessee River,” said Brad Collett, Tennessee RiverLine director and associate professor in UT Knoxville’s Herbert College of Agriculture and College of Architecture and Design. “Funding from the USDA, 3M, and our principal partners in support of this initiative expands the Tennessee RiverLine’s capacity to extend support to communities that may not otherwise have planning and design capacity or access to programming resources.”


“Our work with Tennessee RiverLine will help our neighbors enjoy the Tennessee River, enhance community vibrancy, and help ensure a more interconnected region. We’re honored to support this work and look forward to seeing what’s next for our area,” said Michelle Howell, site leader of 3M Decatur. “3M works to create opportunity and deliver for our people and our customers – and that applies to building communities where we live and operate in north Alabama and the Tennessee Valley.”

“Incredible things happen when communities come together to dream, discuss and design their futures. The

Community Planning Initiative is one of the many, outstanding benefits of the 652 to YOU program,” said Allen Clare, Vice President of River and Resources Stewardship at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). “As principal partners of the Tennessee RiverLine, we congratulate this year’s participating communities and look forward to seeing the positive impacts of their efforts realized.”

To learn more about the Tennessee RiverLine’s Community Planning Initiative and sign up for upcoming community engagement events near you, visit the Tennessee RiverLine News Page.

Media Release/Hannah Kirby | Funding Strategist and Grants Manager/Tennessee Riverline

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