Monday, August 25, 2008

Generation Charleston making a difference - one step at a time

While some of you might have been sleeping in Saturday morning, I was out getting my sweat on with about 50 other like minded people. We all got up early Saturday to make a difference on the West Side of Charleston in Cato park. Here is the article that appeared in the Sunday Gazette-Mail. It was written by Alison Knezevich.

Hikers and bikers will have a few new paths to trek in Charleston, thanks to more than 50 volunteers who turned out Saturday to build trails at Cato Park.

Dozens of people organized by the group Generation Charleston cleared leaves, roots and rocky dirt on a half-mile path on a steep hill behind the park as part of a community service project.
The volunteers started working around 8 a.m. (and we worked the entire morning finishing up around Noon) They followed a winding path of bright orange flag markers, using special tools that look like axes and rakes to carve out the trail. Home Depot donated work gloves and other tools, and local fast-food places gave the group free breakfast and lunch.

Volunteer Rossi Getzkova said building trails was her way of creating something for future generations. "There's always a way to make an impact in your community," she said as she snipped roots from the trail using a tool called a lopper. "I would say the hardest part is making sure the trails are level," said Generation Charleston member Todd Beane. "Because we want them to be safe."

The city owns the 50 acres of land at the trail site. Last year, the Charleston Land Trust began to develop the site, and several other groups have helped build trails. "There's still more to do, but this is going to knock out a major piece," said City Councilman Adam Henry Knauff, who volunteered Saturday.

Eventually, the new paths will connect to others in various parks in Charleston, Knauff said. He wants more people to know about outdoor recreation opportunities at Cato Park.
"I think the city should make it a priority in terms of getting people out here," he said.
Generation Charleston - formerly called Young Professionals - is a committee of the Charleston Area Alliance.

The group's community outreach team also has completed service projects for the YWCA and Habitat for Humanity, said community outreach co-chairwoman Brooke Pauley. Momentum is growing for Generation Charleston's volunteer efforts, Pauley said.

At the beginning of last week, only 15 people had signed up for Saturday's project. But the group ended up breaking its goal of 40 volunteers. Helpers included not only Generation Charleston members, but also a Boy Scout troop and a Girl Scout troop and others from the community.
Generation Charleston's next event is a panel discussion on how people can become more involved in helping their community. The panel starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center.

Reach Alison Knezevich at 348-1240.

Now hopefully, as Adam put it, the City of Charleston will make publicizing the new trails a priority and everyone can enjoy!

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