JONESVILLE — The Jonesville Tourism Development Authority is working on a master plan for the town’s greenway.
Pat Benton, who represents Yadkin County on the authority, presented a draft copy of Phase 1 of the plan members have discussed to consider at their September meeting Tuesday. Areas addressed on the draft were access, beautification and amenities.
Under access, the draft proposed completing the existing access road construction; creating an additional access point; adding signage directing visitors to access points; and identifying and repairing existing trail sections including ruts, standing water, overgrowth, etc.
Beautification needs covered on the draft included rescuing and trimming existing plantings to promote growth; maintaining existing primitive campsite area; adding plantings to designated areas for beauty and soil stabilization (locally sponsored); adding picnic tables in designated areas; adding park benches along the trail in designated areas (also locally sponsored); and adding signage to direct visitors to access points.
As for amenities, Benton suggested constructing an initial walking loop near the existing main entrance; adding distance/progress signs along the walking loop and trail to promote fitness (seek possible grants along with local sponsorships); and improvements to the playground, including adding new equipment. Benton said this is also an area for which to consider possible grants and local sponsorships.
Authority members have been talking about improving the greenway for a while. Its 2015-16 budget calls for $20,000 of the $276,425 of projected revenue from hotel occupancy taxes to be spent on the greenway trail.
Danny Lewis, who was representing the Jonesville Town Council when he was appointed to the authority, brought up needed improvements to the greenway at the last council meeting. “There’s several things we need to do to have a nicer greenway,” he said after the meeting. “We’ve left a lot of loose ends, it seems like.”
Among them, Lewis told council members are the 10 camping sites on the greenway, none of which he said are being kept up. “The weeds have overtaken them,” he said.
Town Manager Scott Buffkin, who attends the Jonesville TDA board meetings, said he walked with another town employee onto the greenway a week or so ago to check out the condition. “It actually looked pretty good,” he said. “I think we’re doing pretty admirably with the resources we have.
“We’re doing a much better job of keeping the grass mowed. It’s well maintained, and it’s really pretty. I would encourage anyone who wants to get away from the sights and sounds of town life to go onto the greenway. It feels like it’s 100 miles away.”
Buffkin said authority members had agreed to appropriate $25,000 toward a $100,000 grant application the town submitted to the N.C. Parks Commission to construct two more pedestrian bridges on the greenway and make other improvements. In order to apply for the grant, the town had to have a commitment to fund $1 for every $4 of the grant.
The application packet was submitted two weeks ago, Buffkin said. The bridges would open up property the town purchased on the eastern side of Interstate 77 three years ago.
“However, without these bridges in place, we really don’t have a way for anyone who wants to go down onto that property,” he said. “The installation of those two bridges would open up about another mile of trail.”
Kathy Chaffin can be reached at 336-258-4058.