08/02/12 — Network of city greenways proposed

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Network of city greenways proposed

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 2, 2012 1:46 PM

A greenway that would follow the Little River from near Lane Tree Golf Course back toward Goldsboro could one day be the start of a network of greenways across Wayne County.

No timetable has been set, nor cost estimates worked up, but it is an idea that the Wayne County Planning Board is considering.

The cost could be minimized by taking advantage of existing trails and bikeways and natural features like the Little River, said County Planner Connie Price.

The most costly aspects would be crossing major roadways like I-795 or Ash Street, he said.

Greenways are corridors of open space where people can safely walk or ride bicycles or participate in other fitness and recreational activities. The greenways, which provide a close-to-home recreational area, often run parallel to rivers and streams or man-made objects like railroad beds or utility corridors.

Recent East Carolina University graduate Brandon Hill began developing the county's greenway strategic plan earlier this summer while working as an intern in the county Planning Department.

Hill presented his plan during a recent Planning Board meeting where board members expressed an interest in seeing it pursued, Price said.

The plan would require the approval of Wayne County commissioners to be added to the county's comprehensive land use plan.

According to the report, greenways enhance property value and contribute to quality of life which in turn spurs development.

A 2002 study of homebuyers conducted by the National Association of Home Realtors and the National Association of Home Builder found that trails ranked as the second most important community amenity out of a list of 18 choices.

It is possible as well that a future subdivision ordinances would encourage developers to set aside areas for greenways and in doing so meet requirements for open space in the developments, Price said.

However, it is about more than just developing a greenway, Price said. The plan also will need to take into account parking and how to deal with private property owners, he said.

The plan calls for the creation of a study committee to guide the greenway planning process. Public hearings would be held not only in the areas were the greenway is proposed, but throughout the county.