Knightdale is on the fast track to connect immediately to 3 miles of Raleigh greenway and ultimately to the Raleigh greenway system for for less than a fourth of the cost originally planned for its greenway project.
As part of the Neuse River Greenway project, the city of Raleigh will build a $630,000 pedestrian bridge over the Neuse River to Knightdale and $465,000 of greenway from the western side of the bridge to Raleigh’s Greenway that Knightdale was planning to build.
Raleigh greenway planner Vic Lebsock said, once complete, the project connects Knightdale to a three-mile stretch of Raleigh's greenway. Within three to four years, that trail will connect with the greenway from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake-Johnston County line, the 28-mile Neuse River Greenway. Ultimately, Knightdale will tie in to Raleigh's system which now has 66 miles of trails, he said.
Mayor Russell Killen said the surprise decision came because the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization ended up with more federal funds available for pedestrian and bike projects than expected and allocated it to Raleigh. The towns of Wendell and Zebulon sent letters of support to CAMPO for the bridge to be built.
Now, Knightdale is slated for building less than a half mile of greenway --- part asphalt and part pedestrian boardwalk over wetlands---from the eastern side of the bridge to the town's only greenway at Hodge Road, said Knightdale Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek. The existing greenway is less than a half mile long.
“Raleigh will build to the other side of the river and we will pick it up there,” said Killen.
Knightdale is estimated to spend from $260,000 to $320,000 of its own money for bridge design and the new portion of its greenway from the bridge to Hodge Road, Killen said.
Knightdale already has a $250,000 in federal dollars secured by U.S. Congressman Brad Miller that it will spend on the remaining cost of the project, Killen said.
“By the end of the day, we save at least $1 million compared to what we were planning on spending,” the mayor said.
The mayor said the project is expected to be complete by September 2011.
The town will seek reapproval for it is N.C. Department of Transportation grant for $750,000 towards another greenway project from Hodge Road to downtown Knightdale, money it expected to spend on the first project, Killen said.
“We are a lot closer, years closer to getting to Harper Park and the new central park by using that money,” he said.