Virginia Guard Soldiers on hand as Cannon Creek Greenway project dedicated

Richmond City Mayor Dwight C. Jones and distinguished guests ceremoniously “cut the ribbon” to open the first phase of the Cannon Creek Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail May 5, 2012. The project that was supported by members of the Virginia National Guard’s Powhatan-based 180th Horizontal Construction Company, 276th Engineer Battalion. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held May 5, 2012 to celebrate the opening of the first phase of the Cannon Creek Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail, a project that was supported by members of the Virginia National Guard’s Powhatan-based 180th Horizontal Construction Company, 276th Engineer Battalion.

The project was started in 2008 and was developed to establish a family-oriented park that will increase the social, economic and physical revitalization of the area.

The 276th, who were recognized at the ceremony, played a vital role in the development of the area clearing the trail, removing debris, laying gravel by utilizing their military training in support of the community service project. Their effort is estimated to have saved the city of Richmond in excess of $300,000 and is said to have been a driving force behind the project.

“None of this would have been possible without the Virginia Army National Guard,” said Ellen F. Robertson, Councilwoman for Richmond City Council’s Gateway 6th District.

“The commitment that the National Guard made to this effort, from the very beginning, providing services and Soldiers to be here to do the groundwork to make this happen made it impossible for us as elected officials to not anti-up the additional funds to make this happen.”

Everyone involved put in the extra effort, worked overtime when needed and their efforts opened up resources that helped make this project a success, she said.

Bikers and Pedestrians ride along the Cannon Creek Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail after the ribbon cutting ceremony May 5, 2012. The ceremony officially opens .4 mile stretch of a planned 1.9 mile trail. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe Jr., Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The Soldiers present were proud of their partnership with the community and eager to continue working on phase two of the project.

“Projects like this are the reason I joined the National Guard, to do something in the community” said 1st Sgt. Jamie Timberlake, 180th HCC.

Richmond City Mayor Dwight C. Jones was on hand for the ceremony and expressed gratitude and appreciation to everyone that was involved in making the trail project happened while noting the value of what the project provides for the city.

“What a wonderful day it will be when people will be able to get on their bikes instead of getting on the bus or getting in their car, and cycle downtown to work or cycle down town to have fun and we are working very hard to provide those opportunities,” said Jones. “We are looking forward to a time when Richmond will be the biking capital of the east coast and people will think of (Richmond) when they think of cycling.”

He followed with a simple message to those in attendance.

“The best is yet to come, thank you so much.”