Connecting piece planned for Deacon's Ridge, Cardinal Hills
by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — All it takes is three-tenths of a mile.
Wake Forest planners are seeking input on a short greenway connector that would tie the Dunn Creek Greenway to the Cardinal Hills and Deacon’s Ridge neighborhoods.
The informal meeting is this Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at town hall, in the ground floor meeting room. The meeting is preliminary.
There isn’t even an official design of the connector yet, though it’s clear the plan is to use existing easements across private property to tie into Ledgerock Road and Cardinal Crest Lane.
“We haven’t even done the survey work,” said Candace Davis, senior planner with the town. She said they hope to get comments from the community about the alignment.
The eastern point of entry is set, however. A pedestrian culvert, or tunnel, under Dr. Calvin Jones Highway (N.C. 98 Bypass) was included as part of the bypass project and currently dead ends at a piece of private property belonging to the Damron family.
The connector would have to cross that property, using a creek easement to run alongside.
On the other side of the highway, the culvert connects to the Dunn Creek Greenway, which runs due south until it meets up with the Smith Creek Soccer Center in Heritage.
There is no opposition to the project yet, though members of the Deacon’s Ridge Homeowners Association board have raised concerns they’d like the town to address as the project moves forward.
“Most notable of these possible impacts are increased foot traffic and parking within the community by non-residents related to use of the greenway trail, as well as installation of lighting at entrance points,” reads a flyer produced for the HOA to distribute to neighbors. The flyer encourages people to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Davis said it’s too early to address parking and lighting concerns.
“We haven’t delved deep enough into it yet,” she said.
But it’s also not an if/or project. Though it is yet to be approved by town commissioners and paid for, the connector is a key component to tying downtown Wake Forest to the greenway system.
The connector is on the long-range greenways plan, and, Davis said, the town has already been promised Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) grant funding, which requires the town pay 20 percent of the project costs and the state pay 80 percent.
Recent discussions in the state legislature to eliminate these kinds of grants would not affect existing projects, Davis believes.
The town also plans to eventually connect the greenway northeast to Wait Avenue, and crossing Wait, to eventually connect to Ailey Young Park and the Traditions neighborhood, Davis said.
She understands neighbors’ concerns, but added she believes the connector will add value to Deacon’s Ridge.
“They don’t have a clubhouse or a pool,” she noted.
Davis said funding for the connector should be realized in late fall 2013, though construction probably wouldn’t begin until 2015.