Eastern Wake News

Firm seeking public input on Zebulon’s greenway master plan

The Town of Zebulon is in the early stages of developing a plan for a future network of trails, like the one shown here along the wooded portion of Zebulon Community Park on Friday, March 14, 2014.
The Town of Zebulon is in the early stages of developing a plan for a future network of trails, like the one shown here along the wooded portion of Zebulon Community Park on Friday, March 14, 2014. amoody@newsobserver.com

Town leaders have chosen a consultant to oversee the creation of a greenway master plan, and are now asking the public to get involved in the process.

Two open house sessions on the greenway plan will be held in the Zebulon Town Hall front lobby this Tuesday, Jan. 13; from 7:30-10 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. The sessions will give residents a chance to learn about greenways and offer feedback.

Because the planning process spans the next six months, the public is encouraged to share input on locations for Zebulon’s future greenways and amenities with the town’s staff and elected officials.

Organizers also want residents to sign up for future electronic surveys, invite the consultants to meet with civic club, church and business groups, and to attend future meetings to continue to offer input.

“It’s imperative we understand what the community would like to see happen,” said Brian Starkey, founder of the consulting group OBS Landscape Architects. “It’s about connecting destinations, so we want to know what’s important to the people as to what they think those destinations are.

“They know Zebulon better than we do, and we need to know it very well. We want to see their needs and desires, and what they’d like to see this system accomplish.”

The creation of a greenway master plan is being funded through a three-year, $210,000 grant awarded in July by the John Rex Endowment, which is also helping Zebulon establish a farmers market.

Meeting the help

Commissioners in December awarded $64,750 of the grant funding to OBS Landscape Architects at the recommendation of a consultant selection committee composed mostly of town staff. The Raleigh-based group was chosen from among five firms that expressed interest in the project.

The OBS group came highly recommended from projects with Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville and the Upper Neuse River Greenway Trail in Raleigh, Zebulon Public Works Director Chris Ray told the town board.

For the price tag, Commissioner Curtis Strickland wanted to know, “What are we getting?” He raised concerns about allocating that amount of money solely for a planning phase.

Mayor Bob Matheny responded that the greenway plan is a necessary step toward helping the town win another grant for the actual construction of the greenway later on down the road.

“(OBS Landscape Architects) are going to lay all these pieces and parts out for us as a stepping stone to get this constructed,” Ray said. “We’re very fortunate we have a grant for this.”

Starkey said his group has already taken some small steps in terms of community outreach. One of those was the creation of a website, www.zebulongreenways.com, where visitors can take surveys and stay up to date on the greenway master plan throughout the process.

“We’ll be uploading maps as the project progresses, putting more information up there,” Starkey said.

Starkey said there will be at least two more meetings similar to Tuesday’s open house sessions at some point in the future.

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