Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is seeking bids for construction of Toby Creek Greenway in University City.
Final approvals are still needed to build the greenway on state-owned land at UNCCharlotte, but construction of the 1.5-mile trail could begin late this year.
Planners say the project is important because it will improve safety and access to nearby park and retail amenities.
“It's going to be a wonderful connection,” said greenway planner Gwen Cook. “The thing people call most about is the bridge over Mallard Creek. It's probably the prime feature of the whole Toby Creek Greenway.”
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The plan calls for an asphalt path that follows Toby Creek, from the intersection of W.T. Harris Boulevard and University City Boulevard to where Toby Creek meets Mallard Creek Greenway near North Tryon Street.
On campus, the trail will offer views of and access to the tennis courts and track, but most of the trail will be in wooded or shaded areas.
A wood plank bridge at one end of the trail would carry walkers, joggers and bikers over Mallard Creek and onto Mallard Creek Greenway.
Some who currently use the path have walked on top of a sewer line to cross Mallard Creek for access between UNCC and a 7-mile trail along Mallard Creek and Clark's Creek greenways.
Park and Recreation will ask bidders to include a separate price for a half-mile branching trail at Phillips Road that would provide access to The Shoppes at University Place.
That addition would be built only if costs for both projects fall within the budget for building Toby Creek greenway. The project is being funded through park bonds approved by voters in 2004.
Park and Recreation is working with city and state transportation officials to add improvements for pedestrians at a traffic signal on University Boulevard at Town Center Plaza.
Greenway planners have asked Charlotte Department of Transportation to add a crosswalk, pedestrian signal controls and an area in the median where pedestrians could wait to cross.
Park and Recreation plans an informational meeting with prospective contractors at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 19 at UNCC's Facilities Management office. Contractors can submit bids until 3 p.m. Oct. 8. Bids will be accepted at the county Real Estate Services office, 1435 W. Morehead St.
Mecklenburg County commissioners must approve a contract before construction can begin.
Officials at UNCC are eagerly awaiting the start of construction. Access to the greenway will make it possible for students, faculty and staff to commute to and from campus by foot or bike, which could ease demand for parking, said Peter Franz, director of facilities planning. The trail also will give the cross country team new options for a practice route.
“Folks on campus have been looking forward to this to begin and to end,” Franz said of construction. “It opens up the campus out to the community much better.”