With the completion of a bridge over Silver Creek in November, the Ohio River Greenway finally allows users to ride or walk the path from end to end — from New Albany, through Clarksville, to Jeffersonville on 7.5 miles of mixed-use trails and roads.
To celebrate, the three communities are hosting Le Tour de Greenway, a family-friendly bicycle event from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 11.
The event is free and open to all ages. Registration can be completed online in advance, or in person at one of three registration points — The Overlook in Jeffersonville, Ashland Park in Clarksville, or the Amphitheater in New Albany.
“You can start at any of the registration points,” said Amber Ridings, assistant parks director for Jeffersonville. “You could really start anywhere, but the whole point is to get a passport.”
Each registered guest receives a "passport" with information about the Greenway along with a list of ten stops along the route. At each stop guests can get their passport stamped.
With at least one stamp in each community guests will receive a free Le Tour de Greenway T-shirt while supplies last.
Those with a stamp from all ten stops can enter in drawing for prizes upon returning to their registration point. Top prize in each community is a family four-pack season pass to its aquatic center; Jeffersonville Aquatic Center, Clarksville Cove Family Aquatic Center, or New Albany’s River Run Waterpark.
New Albany, Clarksville, and Jeffersonville’s parks departments partnered for the event, with additional support coming from the Falls of the Ohio State Park, Ohio River Greenway Commission, and SoIN Tourism.
Each community hosts three or four stops with different family activities such as inflatables, music, face painting, food trucks, and games.
At Clarksville’s Lewis and Clark Park, expect to find historical re-enactors and a bluegrass band.
“That park has a more historic feel to it,” said Ken Conklin, communications director for Clarksville Parks. “We thought something historical would be a nice fit there.”
Event planners say they would like to see more events like this.
“This could be the beginning of a trend,” said Ridings. “This is a really neat event to tie our communities together. It’s nice to show off the Greenway and our communities.”
“People are so excited about the Greenway. Ashland Park is one of our most popular parks," said Conklin. “Folks are there all the time taking wedding photos.” The completion of the Greenway, “is going to allow folks from other communities to see what we have to offer.”
In the works for over two decades, the Ohio River Greenway is a multi-use trail running 7.5 miles with ends in Jeffersonville at Riverside Drive, just east of Walnut Street and in New Albany at Water Street and West 10th Street.
"Le Tour de Greenway is a great way to experience each community, while being active and embracing various parts of nature, the riverfront, and the Greenway," Alicia Meredith, director of New Albany Parks, stated in an email. "The connection of the Greenway via Silver Creek Bridge is a very valuable piece to enabling New Albany to showcase the number of improvements made along the Greenway path as well as those to come."
The Greenway was conceived in 1994 with the formation of the Ohio River Greenway Development Commission, with Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Clarksville, as well as Clark and Floyd Counties represented.
The first completed segment was the terraced lawn in Jeffersonville in 2000. Since 2003, 10 additional segments have been built, including 6.6 miles of new multi-use paths, two bridges, and the bicycle/pedestrian ramp to the Big Four Bridge.
In November the long-awaited bridge across Silver Creek opened, along with a section of path starting from the George Rogers Clark Home Site and running towards New Albany.
“It’s not even technically open yet,” said Conklin of the new path and bridge. “We’re already seeing lots of traffic on foot and bicycle on it.”
The Greenway is now completed from Interstate 64 in New Albany to Ashland Park in Clarksville, with the Jeffersonville section, running along Riverside Drive, and part of New Albany’s, west of I-64, made up of shared use vehicle/bike/pedestrian roads.
Riverside Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the event, according to Ridings.