Last updated: June 01. 2013 11:50AM - 404 Views
Darcie Dyer
Staff Writer

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The pioneers of the Jonesville Greenway are closer to having their dream become a reality.

The Town of Jonesville has acquired access to all of the property of the greenway from Bluff Street in Jonesville to approximately one mile east of I-77. The greenway is comprised of four zones, and the first zone has been cleared.

Zone 1 of the greenway became pedestrian ready earlier this year. This initial zone spans a little more than one mile, beginning at the head trail marker on Bluff Street and ending near Sandyberry Creek.

The long-term project planned for the greenway is a 32-mile trail, starting in Jonesville and ending in Rockford. This trail will include connections to both the Yadkin River Canoe Trail and the Overmountain Victory Trail.

With the land acquired for the trail, and Zone 1 completely cleared, the ideas about what will be placed on the land, in addition to the nature trail, are starting to take life.

Jonesville First United Methodist Pastor Dale Swofford, who is one of the primary players in the Jonesville Greenway’s development, said the acquired property along the greenway trail will be filled with multiple attractions, all reflecting colonial life.

The open area of land at the beginning of the trail will be named Greg Martin Memorial Park, in honor of Jonesville Police Department’s officer who was shot and killed while on duty in 1996. In this area, they plan to have a picnic shelter, barbecue cookers, a handicap accessible fishing pier, an expansive, four-tree-house-playground, which is tentatively named “Kolonial Kids Kamp,” a bird sanctuary, an outhouse, a nautical flag pole and a “Back Porch Theater,” which will be comprised of two connected tobacco barns and a 16-foot porch for live performances.

At the beginning of the trail they will be putting in a log horse stable, chicken house and pig pen. It won’t be a live farm because there will be no animals, but it will be there so people can get a taste of colonial life.

There will also be a 200-year-old cabin transported to the site from its current location in Boonville. “This will be for school children from all over to come and learn colonial history sitting in a colonial cabin. Primarily, this cabin will be for education just for school kids to come in and learn history,” Swofford said.

Along the greenway there will be 10 camp sites, five of which will be RV pull out sites, and five pull through sites. It will be a public camp ground designed for RVs, campers, tent tops, each site will have a picnic table, fire ring, and power and water.

“People who want to camp will have to register at City Hall with a fee less than a regular commercial camp ground,” Swofford said. “We don’t want to charge anyone interest fees. We want it to be free to the public, but you have to pay the power and light bills somehow, so we will charge for camping and have water and power at each camp site. That will offset the power bill for the security lights, the bathrooms, and all those other fees.”

Swofford said the money for the Greenway is coming “from hotel tax that people pay to stay at the hotels here, through the tourist authority and the rest is coming from grants.”

The town was recently awarded a grant through N.C. Division of Water Resources for $41,750, and the town expects to receive a Federal Recreational Trails Program grant for $75,000. Greenway Coordinator and All-American Associates President Ron Niland hopes these grants will be enough to fund the bridges over Sandyberry Creek and Fall Creek.

“The majority of money funding the greenway is coming from grants,” Swofford said. “So far we’ve gotten half a million dollars or so in grants, but the majority of that has been for land acquisition, so we have very little for development and that’s why we’re doing benefits.”

Because they are lacking money for development, The Friends of the Greenway will be hosting Jonesville Greenway Music Festival on Oct. 13 and 14 to raise money for the greenway. Cost for admission will be $2 and it will be held at Lila Swaim Park.

“We are just working so hard toward the greenway because we believe we can use its appeal to market Jonesville as a regional tourism destination, and really a hub for tourism in the Yadkin Valley,” Swofford said.

Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or ddyer@heartlandpublications.com.

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