Mooresville is moving forward with a long-discussed plan to build a million-dollar greenway along a creek in the southern part of town.
The 10-foot-wide paved trail would stretch about 2 miles along Dye Creek, meandering between Bellingham Park and a wastewater treatment plant on Johnson Dairy Road. Linking a number of neighborhoods along the way, it would connect with the Carolina Thread Trail, which runs through the public park.
Commissioners have thrown their support behind the plan, endorsing a presentation earlier this month that cited an economic impact study suggesting that greenways increase property values and improve quality of life, among other things.
“Greenways have become very much a priority” for the town, said Senior Engineer Allison Kraft, who gave the Oct. 2 presentation.
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The creekside greenway is expected to cost $1.2 million, nearly half of which the town would fund with a 25 percent matching grant worth some $530,000. The town is seeking additional funding for the remainder, more than $485,000, Kraft said.
In addition, the town would spend about $7,000 each year to maintain the trail, which would stretch along one side of Dye Creek.
Construction could start in the 2018-19 fiscal year, when the town is scheduled to receive the grant from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, though it still must go before commissioners for final approval.
With relatively few recreational trails, Mooresville is home to only one greenway, a section of the Carolina Thread Trail that is 1 1/2 miles long. A regional network of land and water trails, the Thread Trail links 15 counties in the Carolinas.
Town officials have discussed building the greenway along Dye Creek for “quite some time,” Kraft said. She noted that plans for it go as far back as the mid-2000s, when the town adopted a master plan aimed at improving pedestrian connectivity.
The plan for the greenway is moving forward as the town is putting together a parks and recreation master plan that it expects to finish by year’s end and that will remain in place for at least the next five years.
In a recent survey conducted by a consulting firm the town hired to help carry out that planning process, nearly three-fourths of the more than 12,000 respondents said there is a lack of walking and biking trails in Mooresville. The survey involved households the town randomly selected, taking place over several weeks.
Dick Poore, director of cultural and recreational services for the town, said the results were “pretty consistent” with expectations, citing similar nationwide trends.
The town is already moving to address that need, awaiting word on a $100,000 grant it applied for in September that would go to building at least 6 miles of walking and biking trails at Mazeppa Park. It could hear whether it will receive the 25 percent matching grant before year’s end.
As for the planned creekside trail, it would improve connectivity in the area, linking the neighborhoods of Curtis Pond, Franklin Grove, Johnson Manor and Woodlands.
Noting that it could one day extend to downtown, Kraft, the town engineer, said, “This is the starting point.”
Jake Flannick is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org