KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — More greenways could be coming to Knox County.
The county is working to connect all current greenways in Knox county, and even farther as their popularity continues to grow.
According to the county, about a third of people who live in Knox County regularly use greenways and parks.
"Any time we can provide people with the ability to travel, pedestrian or other than a motor transit, it's a good thing," said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.
There are about 27 miles of paved trails and about 36 miles of unpaved trails in the county already.
To keep up with the demand, the Knox County Commission approved a $300,000 contract with the firm Gresham Smith and Partners to look at where and how to add more greenways.
"It adds value for health, it adds value for safety... it also just adds value to the community," said County Commissioner Brad Anders. "There's a return in investment there that people see in their prices of homes and things like that."
The contract to start the study with Gresham Smith and Partners beings February 1, 2019 and is funded mostly through a transportation grant.
The study will focus on four major greenway corridors at Northshore, Beaver Creek on Emory Road, Chapman Highway, and a portion of John Sevier Highway.
These areas are missing links of sorts. If greenways were built there, they could connect trails throughout the county, adding miles and miles of new greenways.
"There's talk of working with Anderson County, and having a trail system all the way down to the Smokies," said Jacobs. "It becomes inter-county at that point."
But first they have to connect the greenways that already exist in Farragut, Knoxville and Knox County.
Jacobs said it's an investment that can only help the county grow.
"When companies are looking at us and say hey we want to go to Knox County, part of it is what is the quality of life that you have? And for many young people providing those outdoor recreational opportunities is something that they're looking for," said Jacobs.
No completion dates are known, but the study will require public input later this year.