Monday, August 15, 2022

Wilmington to apply for grants to give Northside, Love Grove a multi-use path

WILMINGTON –– The City of Wilmington is seeking design and engineering funding for a 2.2-mile section of a planned multi-use path on the Northside.

A 10-12-foot path will connect the Love Grove neighborhood, a low-income area with no safe pedestrian connectivity to the rest of town.

RELATED: Infrastructure portion of Wilmington Rail Trail gets $5.4 million price tag, funding undetermined

As planned, the path would begin on 3rd Street and follow along the CSX rail line, wrap around Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary School and follow along to Archie Blue Community Park where it will run parallel to the creek before ending at the Love Grove Bridge.

The area where the path would connect exceeds regional averages for the percentage of households living in poverty and/or without a vehicle, according to the city’s agenda item.

It would connect to the Wilmington Rail Trail, a 0.5-mile path known as the “gulch” intended to connect Northside to downtown. City council adopted a master plan for this section this year, which identified more than 8,800 jobs available located within a half-mile of the corridor. About one-fifth of households within a half-mile of the corridor don’t have access to a car, according to the master plan.

Tuesday, Council will vote to forward a grant application along to the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization for the preliminary funding for the 2.2-mile path. The city is seeking $680,000.

WMPO was granted $1.48 million as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Applications are due Aug. 9 and will prioritize projects that can prove they were impacted by the pandemic.

“Beyond providing transportation choice and potential savings, greenways provide communities with numerous health and economic benefits: Greenway trails have shown effectiveness in improving overall community health by encouraging health living and mode choice; contributing to local economies by increasing property values and spurring tourism and recreational uses; and providing place-making opportunities,” according to the agenda item.

“The implementation of the proposed section of the Downtown Trail would provide these benefits to the greater downtown area and contribute to an overall increase in quality of life for many of the City of Wilmington’s residents.”

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