A new recreational trail opened Wednesday in Gardendale, adding two miles to Five Mile Creek Greenway in north Jefferson County.
In July 2018, the Five Mile Creek Greenway purchased 16.5 miles of rail corridor from CSX with plans to make the Five Mile Creek Greenway the longest trail in central Alabama.
Once complete, Five Mile Creek Greenway will connect the cities of Graysville, Brookside, Gardendale, Fultondale, Tarrant and Center Point and tie into Jefferson County’s wider Red Rock Trail System.
“Trails like this connect us to nature, create opportunities for exercise, and attract new residents, businesses and visitors,” said Carolyn Buck, Freshwater Land Trust’s Red Rock Trail Director. “They add so much value and beauty to communities.”
The Five Mile Creek District formed in 2002 as a regional effort to improve water quality and provide outdoor recreation in the Five Mile Creek watershed.
Since then, the District has secured county, state, and federal funds and created partnerships to conserve land, reduce flooding, conduct large-scale cleanups and develop parks and trails.
“We often hear about the need for regional cooperation in our area, but it’s often hard to point to really good examples of that working,” Buck said. “Today, I can tell you that the Five Mile Creek District and the six cities that make up that district are the perfect example of what collaboration and cooperation can do.”
Thanks to years of regional cooperation, the District was able to purchase 16.5 miles of rail corridor with a federal transportation grant and $373,000 in matching funds raised from local partners.
In coming years, the District will pursue construction funding to complete the full 16.5 miles as well as work on additional trail connections to Tarrant and Center Point.
“It takes a lot of people to make things like this happen,” said Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland, who is also Five Mile Creek District president. “It took every one of us; it took every city. There’s no one single entity; we’re all together. The quality life enhancement that this brings to our residents, you can’t put a value on.”
Alabama Power and the Alabama Power Service Organization have supported the project as a sponsor, helped organize cleanups along portions of the greenway, and have built awareness about Five Mile Creek and efforts to protect it through educational outreach. Alabama Power Vice President for Environmental Affairs Susan Comensky also serves on the Freshwater Land Trust’s board of directors.
The newest section of trail is now open to the public. Located in Gardendale, the rail-to-trail runs from Jew Hollow Road, crossing Fieldstown Road and continuing to Shady Grove Road where it connects to Fultondale’s Black Creek Park Trail. The trail is flat and partly shaded, made of crushed gravel, and open to pedestrians and cyclists. Motorized vehicles are not permitted.
“This is an exciting day for Gardendale and for all our neighbors,” Hogeland said. “We are proud of Five Mile Creek Greenway and look forward to its continued expansion.”
Other complete sections of Five Mile Creek Greenway include Tarrant’s Aqueduct Trail (2.5 miles), Center Point’s Reed Harvey Park (1 mile), Gardendale Urban Trail System (GUTS, 3 miles).
4000-4010 Hooper City Gardendale Road
Gardendale, AL 35071
Jew Hollow Road
Jew Hollow Road
Mt Olive, AL 35117