The ACCESS Project: Perkins Rd to Shelby Farms Greenline

The ACCESS Project, which stands for Adjacent Community Connections to Enhance Shelby Farms Greenline + Shelby Farms Park, encompasses three different access points that Shelby Farms Park Conservancy (SFPC) and Ritchie Smith Associates (RSA) are trying to construct. The original ACCESS Project that was funded through the Mid-South Regional Greenprint Subplanning Grant program funded development of designs for three key connectors at Perkins Road, Appling Road and Gameday Baseball.

The Perkins ACCESS project fills a 2.5-mile gap in access along the Shelby Farms Greenline and will connect more than 1,000 households to the Greenline through a ramp and stairs. This construction project, though simple, has been dreamed of by the neighbors since the Greenline was first paved. This is an example of a true grassroots effort where neighbors reached out, spoke up and partnered with the right group to get this job done. This simple construction project connects people to healthy recreation, an alternate mode of transportation or route, facilitates connections in the community and provides equitable access no matter age or ability to all these benefits. The best part? It’s free to use!

More than 1,000 residents live right next to the Shelby Farms Greenline and cannot access it because they are barred by steep descents to the trail or large streets blocking their way. This trail will connect these neighbors to an existing amenity in their neighborhood, building off of what already exists with this simple link. SFPC is a conservancy organization and always prioritizes actions that protect or enhance the natural environment. This trail encourages more people to travel by bike or walk to connect to businesses or neighbors close by.

This project:

  • inspires community ownership and equitable participation through the Development Committee of neighbors formed through a public informational meeting and by prioritizing ADA standards so all are welcome on the trail
  • provides a connection to an expansive greenway system and provides an alternate transportation route
  • contributes to healthy and safe communities by constructing a safe ramp and stairs to get to a nearby amenity, thereby reducing all barriers to outdoor fitness possible and encourage people to get outside on the trail more often

This trail is less than a mile long, but the impacts will be huge once Perkins ACCESS is built and open to the public.