Dear East Coast Greenway Friends,
Over the last nine years as an ECGA Trustee, and in my last five years as Board Chair, I have witnessed unprecedented growth in this amazing organization and its progress on the ground. While the 2008 – 2009 recession caused some non-profits to fail, ours hunkered down and came out strong. We hired Dennis Markatos-Soriano as our executive director and positioned the ECGA for unprecedented growth. Since then, we’ve doubled our staff and increased our impact.
In all of the fifteen states that the ECG passes through, state Departments of Transportation now recognize the ECG project as one of the more important long-term and non-motorized trails in the country, and they are partnering with us to achieve our mission. The ECG is now a tangible trail and a destination for millions of users annually. Of the 2,900-mile spine route, more than 850 miles are now safe, off-road trail.
As a public health professional, I am proud of what this project can do to help combat the increasing epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Whether you support active transportation, have a desire to do what you can about climate change, or – like me – have concerns about public health, your support is appreciated and needed. As we all know, this is a long-term project. It is essential that we are committed to press on with our work and make further progress – together.
This month marks my last as Board Chair of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. In this role I’ve had the opportunity to travel to dozens of cities along our route to help kick off projects, and even more encouraging – to see them reach fruition. For example, participating in ribbon cuttings for new sections of trail, then riding them during the Week a Year Tour! Last month board members and trail staff met in Miami with officials at every level of Florida government to help advance our trail there. It was an extremely productive meeting. Though we never made it to the beach, the time was well spent.
There is still much to do and I’m still here to take part. I’ve just been reelected to the board for another three-year term. Wrapping up my term as board chair, I say to everyone on the East Coast Greenway Alliance Team – our boards, councils, staff, membership, and community partners, and to everyone reading this – thank you for your dedication to completing the ECG and for your generosity this giving season. We’re making it happen!
Offering thanks and wishing everyone a Joyous Holiday Season and New Year,
David C. Read
ECGA Board Chair