ASHEBORO — There could be a greenway in Asheboro’s future. Under consideration is a pedestrian path from Vision Drive to West Central Avenue.
The City of Asheboro held a public workshop on Dec. 12 to look at the feasibility of the greenway and to get input from citizens. Held at the Public Works facility on North Fayetteville Street, there were representatives from the city, the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the McAdams Company, which is a consulting firm in landscape architecture and urban planning.
Christopher Normile, a planner with McAdams, said that while there are several routes the greenway could take, it would basically follow Haskett’s Creek. To date, there are 32 possible segments along the trail which will need to be narrowed down to one route.
McAdams is working with city staff and a steering committee to work out details before presenting a plan to the Asheboro City Council for approval. That will include not only a recommended route but also a cost estimate and funding sources for the city to pursue.
So, what are greenways? According to information from McAdams, “Greenways are corridors of land for biking and walking, recognized for their ability to connect people and places. Used for transportation and leisure activities, greenways can also be utilized as buffers, separating and protecting the natural environment from the built environment.”
McAdams listed benefits of greenways:
•Enhances health and wellness.
•Has positive environmental impacts.
•Has economic impacts.
•Provides alternative transportation.
•Has aesthetic contributions.
Normile said questions are being asked during the planning stage to determine the ultimate path the greenway would take. For instance, will there be alternate routes from the main trail, following West Bailey Street to the North Asheboro schools? Or east on Balfour Avenue to the PART Park and Ride?
Will the greenway follow Haskett’s Creek on the east or west side? Will the route take a culvert to the other side of Vision Drive? Or should a new culvert be built? Or should the greenway stop on the north side of Vision Drive?
The city has sewer line easement rights along Haskett’s Creek. But in order to run the greenway along that route, changes would need to be made to the easement agreement, which would likely mean more easement fees.
On the other hand, the proposed North Asheboro Greenway would be following mostly wooded, undeveloped land, Normile said, meaning fewer development constraints. Still, there will probably need to be easement agreements with landowners along the route.
Justin Luck, planning and zoning administrator for the city, said two landowners they’ve talked to “seem positive for easements.” He said they’ve also mailed out information to anyone with property within 1,000 feet of Haskett’s Creek.
Luck said the NCDOT is funding the McAdams study. Once a specific route is approved by the City Council, they’ll be looking at grants and other sources to help with developing the greenway.
Normile said hopes are to bring recommendations to the City Council by the summer of 2024.
Tyler Bidwell and Jennifer Judd, both teachers in Asheboro City Schools, were studying the maps and information provided at the workshop.
Bidwell said, “I think, in general, it’s good to have green space … to set aside land in town with nature. It allows us to have the beauty (you find) in a small town with access to all the amenities of a large urban area.”
Judd said, “I think anything that protects the environment is a positive benefit for the community.”
A web-based survey between Oct. 18-Nov. 13 had 232 participants with 2,929 responses and 206 written comments.
Asked “How often would you use the greenway?” 36 percent answered “A few times a week,” 30 percent said, “A few times a month,” 14 percent said “Daily” and another 8 percent said “A few times a year.” The remaining 12 percent said they would never use the greenway. But that’s 88 percent who said they would use the greenway.
Asked how they would use the greenway, 86 percent said walking and 54 percent said dog walking. Biking, nature viewing/birding, and activities with children/family all came in at 45 percent. Running/jogging was the choice of 42 percent while 34 percent said hiking. Just 9 percent said they didn’t use greenways and 5 percent would rollerblade or skate.
One survey respondent said, “My friends and I sometimes drive over 2 hours to other towns to ride our bikes on their greenway. When we go, we also go shopping and find a great place to eat. It would be awesome to have a place close to home to enjoy.”