City Announces Final Step for Completion of Downtown Greenway
The Downtown Greenway, a 4-mile walking and biking trail around downtown Greensboro, is set to begin construction in 2020 on its final stage, the western segment.
“This is truly exciting news as we can now close the gap and complete the Downtown Greenway,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. “To see this project come to fruition is a testament to everyone who has worked so hard on this project. The Downtown Greenway will serve generations of Greensboro residents.”
The City of Greensboro reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern to purchase the rights to install the greenway along the Norfolk Southern Railway Atlantic & Yadkin Railroad corridor under the railbanking provision of the National Trails System Act. The agreement allows for construction of the western segment that runs along the railroad tracks from Spring Garden Street to Smith Street at Meeting Place, the Tradition Cornerstone.
“This section is particularly unique with the College Branch Stream running alongside what will become the greenway path,” said Dabney Sanders, Downtown Greenway project manager. “Stream restoration work, the addition of site furnishings, and public art will make this a beautiful part of the greenway to travel through, as well as a destination.”
In 2001, the Greensboro Center City Master Plan identified the Downtown Greenway as one of three major projects, including Center City Park and the Greensboro Grasshopper’s downtown baseball park. The Downtown Greenway was then included in the City’s 2006 Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenway/Trails Master Plan, that included the greenway as the hub of an envisioned 400 miles of Greensboro trails and greenways. It was also selected as the City’s signature Bicentennial project and in 2010, the Downtown Greenway was named the top priority of the Greensboro Downtown Economic Development Strategy.
Trip Brown, co-chair of the Downtown Greenway Oversight Committee notes that “we have seen more than $217 million in private investment in and around the Downtown Greenway for projects that attribute the greenway as a reason for their location and investment. New projects are being announced regularly and we can’t wait to see additional investments in the years to come.”
In all, the Downtown Greenway will cost roughly $43 million, including approximately $13 million in private donations and $30 million in public funds realized through both local bond referendums and state and federal funding. Earlier this year, the VF Foundation and VF Leaders announced a legacy gift of $1.5 million to Action Greensboro to support the continued development of the Downtown Greenway and this funding will help support this acquisition.
Construction of the Downtown Greenway is also progressing along Murrow Boulevard. The eastern section of the greenway runs along Murrow Boulevard from Gate City Boulevard to Fisher Avenue and Greene Street where it will connect with the current open section. New traffic signals and traffic pattern are under way at Murrow and Gate City Boulevards and construction is expected to be complete in October 2020.
Ultimately, the Downtown Greenway will also serve as a connection spot for other prominent greenways. The Atlantic & Yadkin (A&Y) Greenway, which follows the abandoned Atlantic-Yadkin railroad that used to connect Greensboro to Mount Airy and its granite mining operations, will connect Summerfield, Stokesdale and northwest Greensboro to downtown. The route also connects the Bicentennial Greenway, the future Piedmont Greenway, the Mountains to Sea Trail, the East Coast Greenway and the City’s watershed trail network.
“Greenways are a fundamental part of the growth & development for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department,” said Nasha McCray, Parks and Recreation director. “The Downtown Greenway will play a central role in expanding a larger community loop concept with an existing network of greenways we already have.”