Monroe approves Thread Trail grant

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 03:31 PM

The Bearskin Creek Greenway project has taken another step toward completion. 

The project, adopted in the Monroe Greenway Plan in 2005, was also recently adopted by the Carolina Thread Trail. The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional network of trails that connects 15 counties in the region. 

The trail would be 10-foot-wide paved walkways with 2 feet graveled shoulders on either side.

Monroe City Council voted unanimously last week to approve a reimbursement agreement between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the City of Monroe. 

The Bearskin Creek Greenway is about 1.6 miles, beginning at Skyway Drive and ending west of Icemorlee Street. It would connect four parks, the Union County Farmer’s Market and the downtown area. 

Planning Director Lisa Stiwinter told the council that state and federal funding had become available over the years. They were initially contacted in 2011 by the state. 

The planning table presented showed that the city would receive about $1.6 million from the state. The federal funds would be about $1.3 million, with an 80 percent reimbursement rate. A non-federal state match would be $328,000 with a 20 percent reimbursement rate.  

Stiwinter said the city would lose the state match if the funding was not approved by June 30, 2015. 

The city is responsible for obtaining right-of-ways, permits and easements as well as environment documents and the design package. These things must be completed by June 30, 2014, according to staff documents. It must be completed by that date in order to authorize construction funds before the end of the state’s fiscal year. 

Stiwinter said there are grants available from the Carolina Thread Trail to help with right-of-way acquisitions. 

Some council members were concerned about bikers and pedestrians sharing the space. Stiwinter said they would have public hearings in the future. 

Council member John Ashcraft said he was trying to think of the “big picture.” He noted that he did not really remember the Carolina Thread Trail and would like a refresher on the project in the future.