Trail of the Month: March 2005
V&E Greenline, Tennessee
The V&E Greenline may not be a very lengthy trail, but what it lacks in miles, it more than makes up for with style and charisma. This 1.7-mile rail-trail tours cute urban neighborhoods and chic garden spots, and it is the only trail of its kind located in Memphis, Tenn. The V&E offers a perfect outlet for those seeking a quiet retreat from the city celebrated as "the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock' n roll," while at the same time providing a safe haven for hikers, bicyclists and runners.
The V&E Greenline owes its existence to the community it serves—the Vollintine-Evergreen community, hence it's name. Unlike many rail-trails, which are primarily funded through the Transportation Enhancements program administered by the Federal Highway Administration, the V&E Greenline is paid for through grants and tax-deductible contributions from neighbors and trail users.
The Vollintine-Evergreen community bought the railroad right-of-way in November 1996 after the city of Memphis passed on the option of purchasing the land. The area had fallen into disrepair. Dumping, litter and high weeds were epidemic as the area became an attractive refuge for criminal activity. Today, the V&E Greenline serves as a major bragging point for the community who had become fed up with the area's previous "no-man's-land" appearance. Residents and volunteers have improved the entire corridor and taken pride in continuing maintenance of the trail.
Beginning at the eastern end of the V&E Greenline you'll find yourself at the first of six sections along the trail. The "Spring" section, named after a former railroad stop located along Springdale Avenue, rests between Springdale Avenue and Jackson Avenue at University Street. The trail whisks you through a magnificent canopy of trees providing a picturesque view and a much appreciated break from the sizzling southern heat. According to the V&E Greenline Web site, the trail follows the former L&N Railroad which ran through the Vollintine-Evergreen Community from pre-Civil War years to 1980. In its later years, the rail line served the Sears distribution center located in Crosstown.
Moving along the V&E Greenline's path, you'll pass Jackson Avenue and come to the "Gardens" section. This particular section was started by a neighborhood resident and is just one example of the community's dedication to the rail-trail. With the help of community members and volunteers the Gardens host more than 30 species of flowers, both perennial and annual varieties. Because of the plethora of species in this garden, visitors will most likely see a colorful array between the months of February and November. The trail continues a short distance before running into the "Arbors." This section compliments the garden area with its 15 varieties of trees lining the V&E's lush path. Birds and small squirrels have come to call this area home.
The next two sections, "Lick Creek" and "West Creek," feature unique bridges and tranquil beauty. The Lick Creek Bridge, adjacent to Evergreen and Auburndale Streets, was built by residents and Keeler Iron Works. The plaque commemorating their efforts is located on the left side of the bridge. Visitors have been known to spot a family or two of ducks from this bridge. The West Creek Bridge, spanning the entire width of West Creek, is located behind the Woodmont Towers apartment complex. It weighs more than 13,000 pounds and was installed in December 2003. If you continue past the Lick Creek and West Creek sections, the V&E Greenline ends adjacent to Watkins Street and North Parkway Avenue at the "West End" section, bordered by residential homes and surrounded by deep slopes of kudzu.
The Vollintine-Evergreen community is currently in the process of raising money to build the "V&E Greenline Stationhouse." This stationhouse will hold most of the machinery residents and volunteers use to maintain the trail and it will also be a meeting and recreational space for the community. Construction for this project is planned to begin in late 2005. For more information, or if you would like to help, visit the V&E Greenline Web site.