Take a hike or ride a bike: Davie wants input on proposed trail network

Published 10:21 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

Davie County is planning a new walking and biking connection from South Davie Middle School to Davie County Community Park and they want input from members of the community.

“This is an exciting first step towards future green development between all of our municipalities and the county,” said Paul Moore, director of Davie County Recreation and Parks, who envisions a series of trails that could one day connect all parts of the county.

“A pedestrian walkway connecting Mocksville to the new Davie County Community Park would benefit walkers and runners in the county by allowing for a relatively long path with few hills and elevation change,” said Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin. “It could be used for 5 and 10k races where the Rich Park greenway can be challenging due to undulating terrain.

“Extending sidewalks to make paths throughout the county more contiguous will allow for more foot traffic and encourage citizens to get out and walk. I watch folks walk by each day crossing the narrow bridge here on South Main Street. Better connectivity with a designated path will make it much safer going from South Davie Middle School to the recreation complex.”

The project began in 2019 when Davie County was awarded a matching grant from the N.C. Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) integrated mobility division to complete a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan. Adopted by the board of commissioners in March 2021, the 100-plus page Davie County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan serves as a guide to plan and build a network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The plan has identified feasible, constructible bicycle and pedestrian routes along stream corridors, through open spaces, and along roads in Davie County

“The plan was the result of Davie County’s desire to make safe, accessible walking and biking part of the County’s identity while pursuing Davie County’s brand, “You Belong Here!” said Moore. “A more walkable and bikeable community will provide residents and visitors of Davie County with multiple benefits including improved mobility, safety, health, environment, economic opportunities, and quality of life.”

Now Davie County Recreation and Parks, the Town of Mocksville, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC), and the Yadkin Valley Regional Bike Plan are collaborating on the Mocksville Greenway Feasibility Study, which is funded through a NCDOT planning grant obtained by PTRC, to determine the most feasible pathway and best way to leverage funds for the infrastructure construction.

The public’s input is requested. Organizers have scheduled community input meetings on April 26 and 27 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Community Park, 151 Southwood Drive, Mocksville. An online survey was developed to allow those who cannot attend a meeting to share their thoughts and ideas.

“The general public doesn’t realize how much influence they have,” said Moore, urging residents to get involved. “For instance, our Davie County Community Park is a direct reflection of the needs of our community and the input they provided. If you took the original conceptual master plan and compared it to a map of the actual park you’d see that they are 90% different. The public was a part of that, and the same goes for this plan.

“We can’t do it alone. We work for the residents. We can present a vision but we need and want them to be a part of that vision. During these input meetings, we want our residents to tell us what they feel is the best route, what they feel is the safest, and what they believe is the most accessible type of pedestrian infrastructure that we can put in place. Our consultant will then look at the feasibility of that input and create recommendations as well as potential cost estimates for this section of the greenway.

“In addition, the more public input we get the more ammunition we have when we are writing grants. The authorities will see that this community is connected and involved and that it really wants to see these improvements.”

“When I think about nature, I immediately think of peace,” said Mocksville Commissioner Jenny Stevenson. “I believe the benefits of having the greenway trails, are that it will enhance the well-being of our community and promote a healthier lifestyle while being connected to our outside community. The greenway trails will be a beautiful place to meet others in our community, exercise, and bike in a safe and comfortable atmosphere without heavy traffic. I would like to hear your thoughts, so please come out and share your ideas on this project.”

Moore said that with the 2013 Recreation and Parks Master Plan, the 2017 Community Park Needs Assessment, and the 2020 Greenway Master Plan there has been consistent support to invest in biking and walking infrastructure to create a county with a well-connected greenway trails network, side paths along roadways, enhanced sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings.

“This infrastructure will create an intuitive, safe network that is attractive to users of all ages and abilities. Residents from ages eight to eighty will use the Davie County bicycle and pedestrian network as a viable option for short trips, recreation, connecting with nature, and commuting. Visitors will select Davie County because of its vibrant bicycle infrastructure network and walkable downtown centers and neighborhoods. New businesses and employers will choose to invest in Davie County because of its high-quality lifestyle.”

He is confident that once the first section is built, people will see the benefits. “That’s how you begin to create advocacy to continue the infrastructure system-wide. In our plan, we connect Mocksville, Farmington, Bermuda Run, Advance, and Cooleemee through loops. We need people to see what it is, and once it is built, experience it. Then they will support its continued development.”

Future priorities after the  connection between South Davie and the community park include:

• Mocksville Loop Trail: A greenway trail that would connect key destinations and use natural stream corridors (and the existing Rich Park Greenway.

  Bermuda Run to Mocksville: A side path along US 158 connecting Winmock at Kinderton in Bermuda Run and Raylen Vineyards & Winery, the facility would change at the Cedar Creek to an on-road bike lane following US 158 or as a greenway way trail along Cedar Creek into Mocksville (connecting with Mocksville Loop Trail).

• Farmington to Mocksville: A greenway trail along Cedar Creek that would connect to Farmington Community Center, schools, US.158 side path, and the Mocksville Loop.

• Bermuda Run to Farmington: A side path along NC 801 and/or on-road bike lanes along local roads that provide  connections between Truist Sports Park, Davie Medical Center, and Farmington Community Center.

• Mocksville to Cooleemee: A greenway trail along Bear Creek providing connections to the Mocksville Loop Trail, the South Yadkin River, Mill Redevelopment site, and RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls: “The Bullhole.”

• Farmington Loop: A greenway trail that uses existing stream corridors and proposed side path along NC 801 to create a loop that connects Farmington Community Center, schools, and the youth complex.

• Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers Greenway: A greenway trail along the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers connecting key destinations in Bermuda Run to future mill redevelopment site in Cooleemee and natural destinations (game lands, river access points, and RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls. Connections to regional destinations (e.g. Tanglewood Park) are also important.

• Advance: On-road bike lanes and designated routes between Advance and Mocksville and Bermuda Run.

• Tourism Trails and Loops: Tour de Farmington and Raylen Vineyard Loop.

Moore said communities benefit by creating a bicycle and pedestrian networks, and by extending local connections to larger regional trail networks. Davie’s trails will become part of the larger Yadkin Valley Regional Bike Plan, which covers Davie, Yadkin, Surry, Stokes, Forsyth, and Northern Iredell counties.

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met along the greenway in Salisbury that weren’t from Rowan County. They came from Charlotte, Cary, Virginia, so it has a tourism component to it too. When people are traveling and see that we have a nice greenway they might stop and eat here, gas up here, do their section, and then go on,” Moore said.

He believes that the greenways are also another opportunity to home in on Davie County’s branding, “You Belong Here.”

“The more value we place on recreation, leisure, entertainment, tourism, and infrastructure, the more we have here, and the more enticing it is for our children to want to come back, and new families to believe that they too  belong here.”

Take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MocksvilleGreenwayStudy.

For more information, contact  Moore at 336.753.8326 or pmoore@daviecountync.gov; or contact Carter Spradling, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, at 36.904.0300 or cspradling@ptrc.org.