Park trail expands

Volunteers recently opened a 4.75-mile extension to a major bike and hiking trail in Lake Norman State Park.

Construction of the Laurel Loop extension of the Itusi Trail involved 1,726 volunteer hours, said Jeff Archer - owner of First Flight Bicycles in Statesville - who helped organize the effort.

The extension adds to the trail's existing 18 miles.

A small group of volunteers began building the Itusi Trail in 2001.

Volunteers came from the Tarheel Trailblazers mountain bike club, First Flight Bicycles, Mount Mourne IB School, Boy Scouts and local youth sports teams.

Duke Energy, Lowe's and REI have provided grants for the trail over the years. A $75,000 grant from the federal Recreational Trail Program funded the Laurel Loop extension and is paying for a planned 9-mile addition, Archer said.

Work on the 9-mile extension started in September and will continue through 2012, he said.

Trail work weekends are typically held on the last weekend of each month.

To volunteer, or for more details, visit

Grant will help expand comunity college

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help construct, renovate and expand its Allied Health building on the North Campus in Salisbury.

The expansion is expected to create at least 100 local health-care jobs, according to projections by Rowan Regional Medical Center and Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.

The grant, from the Economic Development Administration, will help the college meet urgent local demand for well-trained health-care workers, college officials said.

The school could add such programs as occupational therapist assistant, physical therapist assistant and dental hygiene.

The money will enable the college to add at least 7,000 more square feet to the previously planned 20,000-square-foot Allied Health building addition.

While architectural plans for the addition are still being developed, the estimated cost is $7 million - $2 million of which will come from the grant, college officials said.

The rest of the money will come from the Rowan County bond referendum that passed in November 2010.

As a result of this project, Rowan Regional Medical Center expects to create 50 jobs and save 60 other jobs through retaining current employees.

Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast anticipates creating 55 jobs and saving 10 jobs, according to figures released by the college.

Now open for sales in Christenbury Walk

Charlotte-based Meeting Street Homes & Communities recently introduced five floor plans for townhomes it's offering in Concord's Christenbury Walk community.

The Master Series includes three plans designed for empty nesters, with gourmet kitchens, granite kitchen tops, master suites available on the first floor and attached garages, said Meeting Street division manager Scott Dirkschneider.

The homes range from 1,800 to 2,100 square feet, and prices start at $189,900, he said.

The Carriage Town Series includes two plans designed for young professionals, with open living spaces, a two- or three-bedroom plan, private patios for entertaining and a one-car attached garage, Dirkschneider said.

The homes are 1,570 to 1,664 square feet and start at $165,900.

Meeting Street has opened a temporary sales office in the Summers Walk subdivision. Details: Greg Wheeling at 704-714-3090.