05/20/14 — Council hears from greenways supporters

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Council hears from greenways supporters

By Melinda Harrell
Published in News on May 20, 2014 1:46 PM

A representative from the Wayne County Museum was the only person who addressed the Goldsboro City Council during a public hearing hosted by the board to give local residents an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed 2014-15 budget.

In fact, the majority of the discussion that unfolded Monday was associated with the failed Parks and Recreation bond referendum -- a measure that would have resulted in nearly $15 million in infrastructure improvements in parks and recreation areas across the city.

Dave Galloway was among those who said they were disappointed by the way the vote turned out.

An avid bicyclist who, in December 2006, was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Hull and Wheat Swamp roads, he urged the council to move forward with its Parks and Rec plans -- including bike paths and greenway expansion.

"I just want you all to be aware that we have a real problem right now in Goldsboro and Wayne County. I was in a near fatal accident, struck head-on by a car. And whether a bike lane on the side of the road could have prevented the accident, we will never know, but I would like to think it may have," Galloway said. "We need some bike paths and greenways in Goldsboro. I would encourage you, in your future plans, to consider that."

Ron Kendall agreed.

He told the council that he, too, wants to see an investment in greenways -- that he wants to be able to run and bike safely with his family.

"I am an avid cyclist and runner. This city needs greenways and bike paths. We need a safe place to ride. Some of these motorists are not kind to cyclists," Kendall said.

Mike Fryt, a Goldsboro business owner, highlighted the economic value parks and greenways have in a community.

"Sadly, the bond referendum did not pass. This was a tremendous opportunity to see just where the tax dollars would be going. Parks are one of the quickest and most effective ways to build a sense of community," he said. "They enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, bring in new business, home buyers and workers. The bottom line is parks are a good financial investment for the community."

Mayor Al King stressed that he has not given up on developing access to greenways and improving the city's parks.

"I am very familiar with the need, and I will help," King said. "We will have greenways in Goldsboro."

And Councilman Chuck Allen said he, too, was ready to move past the failed bond vote.

"The bond issue failed. It is terrible that it did, but it is what it is," he said, adding that the council would press on with its plans, which include continuing with the design of the W.A. Foster Recreation Center and multi-sports complex.

The council also approved a grant funding development of a greenway.

The Recreational Trails Program grant, funded through the Federal Highway Administration with a $50,000 match from the city, would go toward the construction of a greenway from Ash Street to Royall Avenue along Stoney Creek.