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May 4, 2014

Greenbelt Commission looking for ways to connect city through green corridors

NORMAN — Editor’s note: This is part one in a two part series on connecting Norman through Greenway corridors

 

Two years after the Greenways Master Plan was completed, the Greenbelt Commission is looking at new strategies for planning and maintaining Norman’s trails and natural corridors.

Greenbelt Commission Chair Mark Nanny recently spoke to city leaders about new ways to integrate Greenbelt development with city projects.

“If we’re going to really have this Greenbelt network in place, we can’t do it by ourselves,” Nanny said. “We have to do it with other city departments.”

Greenways in Norman includes existing parks, golf courses, and nature preserves; the system of trails between parks and other open spaces; and large areas of private land that help beautify the city.

Developing the system of greenways throughout the city involves many departments including parks, public works, city planning and public safety.

“Greenbelts need to become an integral part of the municipal infrastructure,” Nanny said.

Connectivity and using all resources is key. Detention ponds in subdivisions are required by city code but also can be developed for recreational purposes with trails that circumvent them and connect to other trails throughout the city.

“If we can convince

developers to go that extra step and do something unique, it adds to the quality of their development and quality of life,” Nanny said.

The extra time and expense might seem too daunting unless developers know they will get support and assistance from the city’s public works in managing and maintaining the system. That’s why its important for the city to look at greenways in a wholistic manner and to encourage public-private partnerships.

“We’re not talking about mowing — the Home Owners Association can do that — it’s the actual hydrological functioning of the retention pond. That’s where the partnership needs to occur,” Nanny said. “There can be trails, there can be nature, rather than just a fenced-in lagoon.”

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