A new greenway path is completed and open to the public along a wooded area behind Wayne Community College and Wayne UNC Health Care.

Paving of the 1.5-mile Reedy Branch Greenway, from New Hope Road to Gloucester Road, was finished Thursday as part of a city of Goldsboro project primarily funded with state grant dollars.

The trail was originally planned to be a gravel path, but city officials decided to pave the area, which allows a variety of uses, including bicycles, strollers, roller skates and skateboards.

"It's a lot more accessible surface when it's paved," said Scott Barnard, Goldsboro parks and recreation director. "Everybody can participate. For a greenway system to serve that need, we really did build this to connect people from where they work to where they live and play."

The trail has several access points, including New Hope Road, where the path intersects with the New Hope Road multiuse path, which extends from the side of college to almost Harding Drive.

The Reedy Branch Greenway can also be accessed from the rear of the college, off Wayne Memorial Drive, and behind the hospital, near the service entrance road. Another entrance is located from at Gloucester Road where it intersects with Glenoak Drive.

The greenway, which is part of the city's park and recreation system, is open from dusk to dawn. There are no lights along the path.

"Just like any other recreation facility, we recommend everybody to come out with somebody," Barnard said.

The greenway has been used in the past by different groups, including greenway enthusiasts that walked along the trail before it was earmarked for conversion into a recreational area. The newly paved greenway is a raised surface in an area that has been prone to have muddy and wet areas, following adverse weather.

The greenway is part of the city's larger greenway plan, which includes the addition of a connecting path from New Hope Road across the city to the back gate of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Barnard said.

Different sections of the path have been completed, with others slated for construction later this year and one section, from the Reedy Branch Greenway across U.S. 70 to Royall Avenue, needing significant N.C. Department of Transportation funding, Barnard said.

In the future, plans include having the Reedy Branch Greenway cross U.S. 70 and connect to the greenway at Quail Park. It will continue along Royall Avenue to Ash Street and connect to the Stoney Creek North Greenway.

The greenway network continues to Elm Street and future plans include extending the trail down Slocumb Street to the base gate.

The city's greenway network is an outgrowth of the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department master plan, which included public input and community meetings.

Residents identified the need for greenways, first in 2008 and later in 2012, Barnard said.

"One of the priorities from our citizens at that time was more walking, more opportunities for walking," Barnard said.

"They wanted walking trails that took them somewhere. They really didn't want something that was a loop in a park. They wanted something that would take them from point A to point B."

The Reedy Branch Greenway was paid with $125,666 in state grant funds and $38,970 in city dollars. The work is being completed by Barnhill Contracting Co.