On the right track

Published 12:28 pm Sunday, August 16, 2009

By Staff
After years of talking about a rails-to-trails project in the area, it appears action is replacing that talking.
Earlier this week, three men addressed the Washington City Council about plans for establishing a trail that would accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians from Washington to North Campus Crossing in Greenville. The trail, parts of which would follow abandoned railroad beds, is known as the Washington-Greenville Greenway.
East Carolina University has endorsed the idea, and Pitt County is showing interest, too, they said.
Vernon Teeter, Joe Taylor and Bob Henkel discussed the project with the Washington City Council on Monday. Their presentation was an effort to convince the city that it “is essential that eastern North Carolina, Beaufort County and Washington provide an outlet for good, clean, healthy exercise for our citizens. This project will do much to provide that outlet.”
Their proposal calls for the local part of the project to have two phases. The first phase calls for a trail that runs from the Civic Center parking lot, through the First United Methodist Church’s parking lot to Third Street, turning left and heading west on Third Street to its intersection with Plymouth Street. At that intersection, the trail would take a right turn onto Plymouth Street, eventually crossing the U.S. Highway 17 bypass now under construction and ending at Clark’s Neck Road.
Phase two calls for a trail that runs from the Civic Center’s parking lot, west on Second Street, along Bridge Street to the existing U.S. Highway 17 bridge and ends at the proposed Tar River Nature Park on the south side of the Tar River.
Council members liked the idea.
“We ought to be able to at least get to Greenville,” said Councilman Archie Jennings.
It won’t be an easy task to bring the trail to fruition, Henkel said. Easements will have to be obtained, existing roads will have to be used and about 100 acres will need to be purchased to turn the plan for the trail into a reality, he said.
We urge the city, Beaufort County, Pitt County, Greenville, ECU and others to at least fully explore the proposed project and support it if it appears to be of benefit to the public. We believe there are many benefits this project can deliver.
Anyone interested in the project may obtain information about it by contacting Phil Mobley, Washington’s parks and recreation director, at 252-975-9367, ext. 224, or by e-mail at pmobley@washingtonnc.gov.