In Cary, greenways will soon link American Tobacco Trail to Umstead State Park

In 2011, women run along White Oak Creek Greenway toward Bond Park in Cary.File photo

By the end of 2019, greenways in Cary could link the American Tobacco Trail to Umstead State Park.

Town Council members Jennifer Robinson and Ken George talked about Cary greenway and park projects during a recent “Cary Matters” video program.

“This coming year, we will be getting closer to finishing the White Oak Creek Greenway, which will go all the way from Bond Park to the American Tobacco Trail,” Robinson said.

That remaining work, about two miles in all, is in two segments. The longer segment, 1.81 miles from Green Level Church to the American Tobacco Trail, is under construction with completion scheduled for early 2019. The second segment, between MacArthur Drive and Davis Drive, is much shorter at four-tenths of a mile. But it’s more complicated because it requires a crossing under a CSX rail line.

“We’re still working on an agreement with CSX,” Amy Mackintosh, a landscape architect with the town, said in an email. “But we’re planning to start this fall if agreements are finalized.”

Given a year for construction, the project will wrap up in the fall of 2019.

That will be cause for excitement, George said. “When the town finishes those two miles of greenway, we’ll have 14 continuous miles of greenway that run from the American Tobacco Trail all the way to Umstead Park,” he noted in “Cary Matters.”

That’s because the White Oak Creek Greenway will stretch from the American Tobacco Trail to Bond Park, where it already meets the Black Creek Greenway, which runs to Umstead Park.

The town considers the White Oak and Black Creek greenways the spine of its greenway system, but those two trails have plenty of company in Cary, which has more than 80 miles of trails.

Also this year, the town plans to begin work on two segments of the Panther Creek Greenway. One segment will run 1.2 miles from the Cameron Pond neighborhood to Green Level Church Road. The second segment will run one-third of a mile to connect to Mills Park.

“When complete, this 4.9-mile greenway will run from Highway 55 to the American Tobacco Trail,” Robinson noted.

Beyond greenways, Cary this year is designing two 20-acre neighborhood parks — one on McCrimmon Parkway and one on Carpenter Fire Station Road.

Possible amenities for the McCrimmon Parkway park include nature trails, a play area, a picnic shelter, an open lawn, an open-air pavilion, a dog park, courts, adult fitness and a corner plaza.

The Carpenter Fire Station Road park could feature a play area for teens, sports fields, courts for tennis and pickleball, adult fitness areas, a picnic shelter, wetland education, a lawn and space for future fields and courts.

When the town will build these parks is an open question. Cary has set aside the money for design but not construction.

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