After years of construction, the first phase of the South Falls River Greenway will officially open this week. The sounds of construction have now been replaced by sprinklers as crews put the finishing touches on the greenway.
“We saw where they put it together and then pulled it apart, and put it together and pulled it apart. And now it's together,” Wild Sage Grille Owner Nancy Gellerman said.
For four years now, Gellerman has had a front row seat to River Greenway construction happening just outside her restaurant. Now the patio is back together and the river route below is being touched up just in time for a big reveal Friday afternoon.
The plants are in and landscaping is complete along the stretch, ready to welcome visitors to this part of downtown. Gellerman hopes that brings more people, just like it was designed to do.
“We have a little more open space,” Gellerman said. “We have the bike path over there, so that's the fun part. You can canoe and kayak down the river, leave your boat and have something to eat or drink.”
The completion signals the end of phase one of a greenway project that has had plenty of set-backs along the way. But now that it's done, the businesses along here are looking forward to a quiet, but busier year.
“Maybe [people] weren't for it in the beginning, but now that it's finished, you can see it. I think it makes a bunch more sense to a lot of people,” Gellerman said.
In the past few months, the Wild Sage owner says she sees people coming around. She'd like to see even more, but having waited four years for phase one to be finished, Gellerman says she'll stick around hoping for more development.
The parks department is sponsoring activities for the River Greenway kickoff event Friday night.