Plans for the town’s greenway project should be complete June 30.
During the town board’s retreat on Feb. 24, Brian Starkey, the OBS Landscape Architects consultant hired by the town to produce greenway plans, emphasized the excitment that the public has expressed about future recreational space.
So far, the company and the town have provided multiple opportunities for public involvement and have mostly received positive feedback.
According to an OBS Landscape Architects survey, 96 percent of those asked supported the greenway development and 98 percent believed it would boost the local economy.
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The same surveyed group mentioned benches as one of the most popular amenities in addition to parking and bathrooms.
The same $210,000 John Rex Endowment grant that is also supporting the Zebulon Farmer’s Market is contributing to the development of the greenway master plan. OBS Landscape Architects will receive $64,760 of the funding.
Starkey also presented some tentative routes at the meeting, which show paths that the greenway could start at Five County Stadium and continue to the Community Center; one that could start at the stadium and pass WalMart and finish at the Zebulon Middle School and another that circles the Zebulon Public Library and Zebulon Elementary School among other trail possibilities.
The project is definitely long-term. Starkey pointed out in his presentation that many other communities have been working on their systems for a “long time.”
“Some of your residents have already started,” Starkey joked. “There are some goat trails out there.”
After Starkey’s presentation, officials raised few concerns. Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth questioned the potential of crime at such a site.
Starkey said that although some greenways have attacted negative behavior, most greenways have remained relatively clear of incidents. He emphasized the need to use the trails frequently.
“You get eyes on the trails like eyes on the street,” he said.
Zebulon Mayor Robert Matheny pointed out that vehicular access should be taken into consideration for medical emergencies.
“This is the town’s plan,” Starkey said. “I feel good about the community input. So far that’s what we’ve heard, the community’s really behind this idea, I think it will (bring) a whole lot to the town.”
To participate in the survey or learn more about the greenways, visit www.zebulongreenways.com.