Independent TribuneUncategorized Citizens offer thoughts on greenway projects

Citizens offer thoughts on greenway projects

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By Karen Cimino Wilson
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Residents chose from three plans for the proposed Rocky River Greenway during a public workshop Thursday evening.

The options include a user-friendly plan that focuses on giving greenway users access to popular destinations including Concord Mills, area hotels, restaurants and retail shops. The celebration of the river concept keeps all trails close to the water for the nature enthusiast. The ecologically-sensitive plan has fewer loops and doesn’t cross the river as often as the other two plans.

The most popular was the user-friendly plan, which would offer multiple trail loops and give walkers, bicycle riders and runners the best access to local attractions.

The Rocky River Greenway is proposed to be at least three miles long and will cost about $1 million per mile to develop. It could be four or five miles under the user-friendly plan, because it includes more trails, said Mark Kincaid, deputy director of the Concord Parks and Recreation Department.

Concord Parks and Recreation is working with Greenway Inc., a greenway developer, to design the greenway. 

The Parks and Recreation Department has funding for the design phase, but Concord City Council would have to approve additional funding to pay for the construction of the greenway, Kincaid said. The design phase is expected to be completed by fall 2010.

Twenty-seven people attended the workshop Thursday to share their thoughts on the plans. 

The city and Greenway Inc. will narrow the plans to one based on the input and hold another workshop sometime later this year.

Rosemary Ruiz, who lives in Ridge Crossing off Pitts School Road near the western end of the proposed greenway, said she’s worried about privacy.

“I’m already having issues with people running through my backyard,” Ruiz said, adding that she would like the city to include a fence to protect homeowners from trespassers.

“I think greenways are the best, but we just need to be aware of all of the ramifications,” she said.

Alejandro Suarez and his 18-month-old son also attended the meeting Thursday. Suarez said he likes to take walks on the existing greenways with his son and daughter. He preferred the user-friendly plan.

“I think it’s the plan that does more to connect us to everything,” he said.

Terry Crawford, the general manager at Embassy Suites Concord Convention Center, and his wife, Carolyn Crawford, also attended the workshop. They live in Afton Ridge.

They also preferred the user-friendly plan, which Terry Crawford said would be a great feature for guests staying at hotels along Bruton Smith Boulevard and Concord Mills Boulevard.

Crawford said the user-friendly plan has a trail that will pass by the 14th hole on the Rocky River Golf Course, which is within view of several blue heron nests. It will be great for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts, he said.

To learn more about the Rocky River Greenway plans or to make a comment on the plans, visit http://www.greenways.com/rockyriver.html

• Contact reporter Karen Cimino Wilson: 704-789-9141.


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