The city of Oak Ridge somewhat has a reputation to keeping the greeneries. A reputation that I found from my day with Jon Hettrick, the Director, and Billy Pickett, the Park Manager of the Oak Ridge City Department of Recreation and Parks took me for a ride tour and walk around the City’s parks and recreational facilities. The Department oversee the maintenance of 16 parks, 13 greenways, 1 national recreation trails, as well as numerous recreational facilities and civic centres. There are at least three things that I found fascinating about the city’s nature. First, consistency to keep the nature green areas at its original state. The city has been recognised for 29 years as The Tree City of USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. To becomes a Tree City, city must at least meet standards such as community tree ordinance, and community forestry programs. From Jon’s explanation, most of the greeneries area are under protected status, which plays important role in keeping the nature at its original state. Additionally, the city also develop greenways program, which is to set aside green areas and trails that weaved natural corridors with community facilities such as residential, schools, and other public centres.
The greenways area approximately 1,566 acres that comprised 48 greenway districts. Second, public support in parks and facilities maintenance is quite high. City’s park and recreational facilities management were supported by the community through cost sharing and co-management between community group or corporation and the city which stated in Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement. For example, a civic group that has interest in cross country bicycle is helping the city to maintain the Haw Ridge Trail (one of the greenway trails in the city) through collecting waste and fixing the trail.
Lastly, probably because the city has done well in providing adequate facilities to the community so they are more supportive to the city program/project in maintaining the parks and recreational facilities. It would be interesting, when I meet one the civic groups next week and ask about their motivation in helping the city environmental program.