If you live in Cabarrus County, I'm sure you have noticed the rapid growth here in the past few years.
Encouraging development is important to the community, but preserving the quality of the environment is equally important. Greenways are one answer that balances needs for both growth and conservation.
A number of greenways are planned throughout the county. One is planned to run through my neighborhood, Moss Creek Village.
"The city was approached by the developer, who had built the gravel trails," said Mark Kincaid, deputy director for Concord Parks and Recreation. "He arranged a meeting that included the city and the (homeowners association) to discuss the possibility of a city-owned greenway trail."
The trail is unofficially being called the Rocky River Greenway. Moss Creek residents first had to vote on whether to convey the trails to the city; to sign off any transfer of common property, 80percent of the residents had to approve it. Many residents went door to door to encourage positive votes.
The required percentage was reached, and the grant application process began.
"We have submitted a grant application to (the Parks And Recreation Trust Fund), which is administered by the state ... ," Kincaid said. "They typically meet in early June to vote on who gets awarded a grant." If PARTF approves, the city will take over the nature trails this fall.
Most Moss Creek residents had no problem supporting the transfer, because of the improvements that go with it.
"Once developed, it will provide a paved asphalt trail that will be friendlier to strollers, runners and bikes," Kincaid said. "Other amenities will encourage Concord residents to get active."
The 10-foot-wide asphalt trails will be surrounded by boardwalks, benches and dog potty stations, and a park ranger will patrol them.
"The city's park ranger ... walks our greenways on a regular basis," Kincaid said.
Today's greenways are not just for recreation and environmental protection, but can serve as a possible transportation alternative.
"Construction is estimated to begin in fall 2011 and will eventually connect both upstream and downstream to future sections of the Rocky River Greenway," Kincaid said. "The Rocky River Greenway is a part of the Carolina Thread Trail, a vision for a future regional trail system."
The Carolina Thread Trail will eventually link 15 counties, two states and 2.3million people. For more information on this growing greenway trail and what locations it will eventually include, go to www.carolinathreadtrail.org.