The downtown park that has garnered much attention in recent years will soon be better equipped to receive even more.
The town has received a Locally Administered Projects Program grant from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to connect the greenway loop at Knightdale Station Park to the Mingo Creek Trail.
That means Knightdale Station Park will soon connect to the Neuse River Greenway Trail and, consequently, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which spans the state from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks.
“The greenway system provides the town with necessary access to amenities like Knightdale Station Park, which we consider the heart of the town,” said town spokesman Jonas Silver. “Right now you can get to Mingo Creek Park, but there’s a lot of street crossings and areas we think could be unsafe for children to travel if they’re not in a car.”
The total project cost is about $2.5 million, with the town responsible for about $514,000 in the 80-20 match.
Silver credited senior planner Jason Brown for seeing the grant process through.
“Jason really brought this one home,” he said. “He’s been on it from start to finish, has done an amazing job and is the reason we’re able to connect Knightdale Station Park to the Mingo Creek greenway.”
Work on the 1.3-mile connection will begin in October at the earliest. Actual construction is expected to take place in 2018.
Brown said the trail, 10 feet wide and mostly asphalt with boardwalks in spots, will generally follow the Duke Energy Progress easement that runs along the south side of Mingo Creek.
“The hope is to minimize crossings, just because they tend to be expensive and have more impact on the environment,” Brown said. “It’s yet to be determined exactly where it would follow.”
The project satisfied grant requirements by providing connectivity, access and an alternate means of transportation.
Another feather in Knightdale’s cap was that it had already shown commitment to the project by funding $260,000 for design work that is expected to begin soon.