Grassroots group advocates for Ponte Vedra, Palm Valley greenway


A local community group is proposing the creation of a traffic-separated greenway trail that would span from Solana Road to Landrum Lane and could be used for hiking, biking and equestrian use.

The PV Greenway and Preserve Initiative, a grassroots group dedicated to making its vision of seven miles of designated greenway area a reality, proposes using existing infrastructure from county-owned property as well as neighborhood and private owners in a public/private partnership. Founder Deb Chapin said the group is collaborating with a number of public and private entities and associations such as the East Coast Greenway, the Florida Greenway & Trails System, and the Palm Valley Community Association.

Chapin, who formerly owned and operated an equestrian center in Palm Valley, said she was already familiar with some of the off-the-map trails that would comprise the greenway.

“It was really my equestrian background that gave me the idea of an interior corridor,” she said.

The proposed greenway trail would extend from Solana Road down to Landrum Lane and up to Sawgrass Village. In addition, Chapin noted, there is the possibility of miles of sidewalk connectivity to destinations such as Mickler’s Landing, Nocatee and Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The group also proposes the greenway as a possible alternate route to THE PLAYERS Championship, a topic Chapin said the group has broached with the PGA TOUR.

In addition to the recreational standpoint of such a trail, the group is also promoting the idea from a safety standpoint. In 2013, the wife of one of the group’s members was the victim of a hit and run when she was struck while riding her bike on Palm Valley Road. She survived the incident and has become an advocate for building a sidewalk on the western side of Palm Valley Road between Landrum Lane and A1A. The Palm Valley sidewalk project also plays a role in the greenway initiative.

The greenway could also serve, Chapin said, as a traffic-separated route for children to walk to one of the numerous area schools including Landrum Middle School, Ocean Palms Elementary and The Bolles School. Other uses include as an alternate way to reach Sawgrass Village, the Ponte Vedra YMCA or THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center.

Long-term, the vision for the greenway involves a number of possible amenities such as a dog park, community garden, a pavilion or nature center.

Chapin said the group hopes to gain official support from the county but realizes the budget for such an endeavor is limited. To that end, the group is searching for alternative funding in the form of state, federal and private grants.

A presentation on the greenway proposal will be offered at the upcoming Sierra Club meeting to be held from June 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.