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Winterville has road map for greenway, parks and recreation projects


The Times-Leader

Friday, May 17, 2019

WINTERVILLE — The town of Winterville now has a road map in place for future development of a greenway, along with a priority checklist for future parks and recreation projects.

The Winterville Town Council voted 4-0 on Monday to approve a greenway master plan and adopt a capital improvement plan for parks and recreation. Councilman Ricky Hines was not present.

Jeff Moore, a project manager at Kimley-Horn, the consulting firm hired by the town to complete the plans, reviewed the townwide greenway plan.

In October 2018, Kimley-Horn hosted a public input session with 50 residents, 10 town representatives, chamber members, high school and Pitt Community College students and recreation staff, Moore said.

The input resulted in the recommendation of a 10-foot side path along roadways or an off-site greenway parallel to streams and sanitary storms, he said.

Side paths are recommended on Old Tar Road to Main Street to the Fort Swamp Canal. Core greenways or side paths that “fill connectivity” to off-site greenways are recommended on Forlines and Reedy Branch roads and N.C. 903.

These connectivity areas will provide a safe travel path from South Central High School to Creekside Elementary School, Moore said.

The plan also recommends partner greenways. It suggests that Winterville partner with the city of Greenville and Pitt Community College to extend the Fort Swamp Canal greenway to Boyd Lee Park.

The plan also includes non-greenway paths, which provide access through residential subdivisions via bicycle lanes. Such paths are ideal on Old Tar Road to the canal, Moore said.

Combining all greenway design styles will provide a greenway from Fort Swamp Canal to Boyd Lee Park via a loop on Old Tar Road, he said.

The greenway master plan also recommends upgrading the existing bicycle lanes on Main Street. A simple repainting of the lines could be done, the plan states.

Mayor Pro-tem Mark Smith made a motion to adopt the greenway master plan, which Councilman Johnny Moye seconded.

Kimley-Horn’s capital improvement plan prioritized parks and recreation projects and includes cost estimates associated with each project.

Moore reviewed the top projects within the plan.

The top 5 projects, which are recommended to be completed within a one to three year timeline, include a multi-purpose center, greenway, maintenance facility, new field and an outdoor fitness area.

The 28,000-square-foot multipurpose center proposal includes a gym, offices and classrooms. listed as the No. 1 prioritized project, it is estimated to cost $12 million.

The No. 2 project is broken into phase A and phase B. Phase A would create a greenway from Main Street to Boyd Lee Park. Phase B would create a greenway from Cedar Ridge Drive to Fort Swamp Canal. Phase A is estimated to cost $2.36 million. Phase B is estimated to cost $778,400.

The next three projects include a $1 million parks and recreation maintenance facility, a $630,630 multi-purpose field and an $118,000 outdoor fitness area.

The next seven projects are recommended to be completed within a three-to-five-year time period, including a $230,000 off-leash dog park and $800,000 regulation baseball field with lights and dugouts.

Upgrading the bicycle lanes on Main Street comes in as the No. 8 project and is estimated to cost $30,000 to $48,000.

A 2,000-square-foot splash pad ranked No. 9 with a $400,000 price tag, followed by a 4,000-square-foot playground estimated to cost $250,000.

Rounding out the list is the development of another field — this ties back to No. 4 in the one- to three-year project list. If both projects are developed it would result in the creation of two new fields in town within a five-year period.

The No. 12 project is a $200,000 picnic shelter.

The capital improvement plan provides a “vision for infrastructure,” Moore said.

“This is a planning document … a living, breathing document,” said Evan Johnston, Winterville’s parks and recreation director.

Councilwoman Veronica Roberson questioned why the only recommended project in Hillcrest Park is the regulation baseball field with lights and dugouts.

“There is no remaining area if that is put there,” Johnston told Roberson.

Roberson asked, “Can an outdoor fitness area be put in both parks? Can we move the projects around?”

Outdoor fitness areas could be created in both Hillcrest Park and Winterville Recreation Park, Johnston said.

“This is a beginning document. The council can prioritize projects,” Winterville Manager Terri Parker said.

The projects were prioritized by Johnston and town staff based on feedback from the community and comments from the council.

Councilman Johnny Moye shared he has concerns with the proposed greenways based on negative feedback he has received.

“Certain projects, residents are against,” Parker said, referring to the proposed Fork Swamp Canal greenway in the Cedar Ridge subdivision. “A large number of residents are in favor (of greenways). There is feedback on both sides.”

Councilman Tony Moore made a motion to adopt the capital improvement plan, which Smith seconded.

Moye asked attendees at Monday’s meeting to contact him with their feedback regarding the top 12 projects on the capital improvement plan’s priority list.