WHEN TALK BEGAN four years ago about creating a recreational greenway along the wasteland of the Gwynns Falls Valley, many dismissed the idea as stillborn. But there were also plenty of believers, who have been able to sell their vision about a 14-mile system of trails stretching from Leakin Park's Franklintown to the Inner Harbor.
If all goes as planned, the construction of the first section -- a 4.5-mile stretch -- will begin next winter. Meanwhile, design work for the second phase is beginning.
The greenway idea is not a new one. The Olmsted brothers, in their 1904 master plan for the development of parks in the new suburbanizing parts of Baltimore, recommended the acquisition of stream valleys to link neighborhoods. While other parts of the Olmsted plan were quickly implemented, it took nearly a century for the greenway concept to mature and become accepted.