GARNER — The Town Council is still weighing its options for the planned South Garner Greenway Extension, a paved bike and walking path that will connect the Lakemoor subdivision and White Deer Park.
The council selected consulting firm WK Dickson in May to evaluate potential greenway locations and to prepare a cost estimate. On Wednesday, the company presented its findings and suggestions to the council.
A proposed plan would divide the greenway into five segments with four possible combinations.
The overall length of the path would be between 5,740 and 6,470 feet. The total estimated cost is expected to be between $804,000 and $992,650.
The council reviewed the proposed alignments and offered suggestions and criticisms to WK Dickson representatives. The firm will revise the plans and return for another review.
The Town Council and WK Dickson plan to hold a public meeting to gather input from residents – particularly those who live in Lakemoor – in late July or early August.
By late August, they hope to have a final design for the greenway. But reaching that point will require many decisions.
“The president of the homeowners association lives there,” said Councilman Buck Kennedy, pointing to a spot on the map of the proposed greenway sections. “A lot of this confusion could have been avoided if we had consulted him.”
Section A of the proposed greenway would have a southern entrance and begin at the end of an existing Lakemoor community trail to Buffaloe Road. A crosswalk would help pedestrians cross Buffaloe Road, and then the path would follow the sewer easement to the Christian Road crossing of Buck Branch.
Section B would begin at the existing Lakemoor community clubhouse and continue to Misty Meadow Lane. A sidewalk from Misty Meadow Lane to Buffaloe Road and then a connection to Christian Road would require the town to negotiate easements with a private landowner.
Section C of the proposed greenway would run from Buck Branch to Meadow Oak Lane through the Breezeway neighborhood and Thompson Road Park. A new gravel parking area is to be built at Thompson Road Park to accommodate the trail and a possible dog park.
Kennedy said he was concerned about the trail’s proximity to a dog park. This section also requires easement acquisition from a private landowner.
Sections D and E would both cross Reedy Branch with a pedestrian bridge. The major difference between the two sections is that Section D runs south, linking from Section C to White Deer Park near the environmental center and picnic area of the park.
Section E runs north, linking Section C to White Deer Park over a quarter of a mile from the Nature Center.
WK Dickson representatives said they considered manmade and natural features that affect the safety, walkability, and aesthetic value of the paths, such as greenery and stream and roadway crossings.
The firm reviewed American Disability Association guidelines for general information but did not bind the paths to those guidelines, which affect how much the ground may be sloped and the presence of handrails.
Garner doesn’t have to comply with those guidelines because the town is not using federal funds to build the greenway.
Councilman Ken Marshburn said that WK Dickson should consider the disability standards more closely in the next assessment, even though complying with them would raise the cost of the greenway.
“The work that was done fulfills the objective. It highlights the aspects we already have and the aspects that need further consideration,” Kennedy said.