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    County Commission authorizes funding for greenline extension

    By Linda A. Moore - The Commercial Appeal -

    Shelby County Commissioners voted to authorize $550,000 in matching funds toward the 4.3 mile eastern extension of the Shelby Farms Greenline and to accept $3.3 million in grant funds from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the project.

    The grant required $1.1 million in local matching funds and $550,000 of that amount was raised through private donations with the county making up the other half.

    Commissioner Wyatt Bunker spoke against releasing the money arguing that the Shelby Farms Conservancy had been warned against asking for more money beyond its operating funds and that some revenue streams should have been built into the management plan.

    Commissioner Walter Bailey agreed with Bunker, pointing out that the park does not benefit the entire population and based on location does not cater to the needs of the county's urban residents.

    Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell told the commission that there are programs to bring in inner-city residents and that the park is separate from the greenline so none of the money allocated to operate the park goes to the greenline.

    Voting in favor were commissioners Sidney Chism, Justin Ford, Steve Mulroy, Mike Ritz, Heidi Shafer, Brent Taylor and Chris Thomas.

    Voting against the appropriation were commissioners James Harvey, Terry Roland, Bailey and Bunker.

    Commissioner Henri Brooks abstained. Commissioner Melvin Burgess was absent.