OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects
Freshwater Land Trust
OSMRE / VISTA: Adam Greene
Supervisor: Memorie English
Address: 2308 First Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Voice Telephone: (205) 417-2776
Web site: www.freshwaterlandtrust.org
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)
The Freshwater Land Trust was created in 1996 with the mission of acquiring and stewarding property for the purpose of improving water quality and creating open space. The Land Trust currently owns and manages over 5,000 acres of property, and is working with cities to develop a regional greenways system in the area.
About the Surrounding Community
The Five Mile Creek Capitol Improvement Cooperative District (District) consists of representatives from six municipalities within Jefferson County, Alabama. The cities, Fultondale, Gardendale, Brookside, Graysville, Center Point, and Tarrant, formed a legal entity to take title to property in order to develop a regional trail along an abandoned rail line that serviced coal mines in the area.
Many of the cities in the area continue to face economic difficulty, making the effort to collectively enhance the region all the more important. While the median household income in the United States is $49,445, Alabama’s rate is $41,574, Brookside’s rate is $37,997, Graysville’s rate is $38,835, Tarrant’s rate is $26,817, and Center Point’s rate is $41,284.
With many of these cities suffering the effects of businesses and residents relocating to other areas in the region, the development of a 16.5-mile trail would attract tourists, catalyze economic development, and breathe new life into the region.
The focus area within the Five Mile Creek watershed includes many towns that were established around the coal mining operations in the area. As many of the mines closed, the towns have suffered from not only the loss of vital industries, but also from the flight of residents who wanted to live closer to economic opportunities. Through the Five Mile Creek District, multiple municipalities are working together to collaboratively improve the quality of life for residents in the region. The project will involve coordinating activities within the watershed, educating the public on events and programs in the region, and scheduling clean up activities that educate residents on the area’s history, while also looking forward to the development of trails and parks that will bring attention and revitalization to Five Mile Creek. (The regional trails will be established along an abandoned rail line that serviced coal mines in the area.)
Trails revitalize neighborhoods, cities, and regions – creating improved access and increased walking and biking traffic. The development of a regional trail within the Five Mile Creek watershed will dramatically improve the economic stability of cities, while also adding job opportunities for local residents, and providing a safe walking or biking option for members of the community that may not have access to a car.