by Herb Hiller
You have to love a week that makes you laugh, pump your fist, salute the work of colleagues, and marvel how the convergence of effort, eagerly sought, leaves scant time for contemplation before new ideas surge ahead.
This was also the week of the 1 percent solution – of 30 miles, or one percent of the entire Greenway almost assured of designation — that already foretells 20 times more.
How about laugh first? Here’s Trail Council member Steve Davis’s ingenious capture of opportunity to advance the trail. He writes in a letter to a bank president by name:
“I have been impressed with Prosperity Bank for many years but now your Mandarin Branch has achieved legendary customer service. On Monday, my car broke down outside the Mandarin drive-through window and the teller plus an assistant helped me push the vehicle out of the way. Inside, the staff helped me find a tow truck and I was able to get my car fixed the same day.
“Today I returned to the bank to make a deposit and Ms. Gonzales gave me a tool kit for my car. She said it looked like I didn’t have any tools so they went out and bought me a kit. This is rare indeed.
“Now I need 20 minutes of your time to tell you about the East Coast Greenway and how Prosperity Bank can be a leader in health, fitness, sustainability and economic development. What other bank has their headquarters on a 3,000 mile trail from Northern Maine to Southern Florida? Please let me know when I can meet with you in St. Augustine to provide details of this opportunity.
“Very truly yours,
“Steven Davis, ASLA
East Coast Greenway Alliance, Florida Trail Council”
This was also the week that Miami Green Mobility Network Chairman John Hopkins shepherded through public approval of 30 miles of Miami-Dade County trail ready for designation by the Alliance in Newark later this month. It was also the week that Trail Council member Paul Haydt made a gift to the Alliance that ensures, during this time of improving but still dicey Alliance finances, that I can attend those Newark meetings.
Two more convergences took place during successive days in Tallahassee.
First, State Sen. Anthony C. “Tony” Hill, Sr. and I met in the Capitol to plan a June tour along a roughly 600-mile section of route through North and South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida that would interpret Gullah-Geechee culture while helping advance our trail there.
Second – and sure to advance trails everywhere through our state – the Florida Department of Transportation announced it will establish a Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council to convene in early June to make policy recommendations to FDOT and transportation partners throughout Florida on the state’s walking, bicycling and trail programs. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Florida Field Office Director Ken Bryan led the effort that FDOT announced on the Capitol steps during Florida’s second annual Bike Summit. The occasion brought together the leadership of the Florida Bicycle Association, Bike Florida, and the East Coast Greenway Alliance.
A stellar day – a stellar week, people!