Charlotte, N.C. – In mid-July, the Carolina Thread Trail Governing Board awarded $391,000 in trail implementation grants for projects along the Thread Trail. This funding comes at a critical time, with residents flocking to greenways and trails as an alternative to typical crowded social settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, communities are looking to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for their residents, including trails.
The Thread Trail’s Implementation Grant Program provides funding to communities and nonprofit organizations to support projects in trail construction, design, land acquisition and corridor planning. Over the past 10 years, the Thread Trail has awarded over $6.9 million in catalytic grants to communities throughout the 15-county region in North and South Carolina. Currently 300 miles of greenways and trails, as well as 170 miles of blueways, are open to the public within the Thread Trail system.
The grant award amount, community information and the use of the grants follow:
CITY OF BELMONT, NC – $25,000
Funds will assist in the design of the 1.2-mile Abbey Creek Greenway connecting to the Catawba River at Kevin Loftin Park.
CHEROKEE COUNTY, SC RECREATION DISTRICT – $45,000
Funds to assist in the construction of approximately two miles of sidepath connecting Chesnee, SC to the Cowpens National Battlefield. This path would serve as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and create nearly four continuous miles of Thread Trail.
CITY OF GASTONIA, NC – $45,000
This grant will assist in the construction of the Catawba Creek Greenway extension within the City of Gastonia, extending the Avon-Catawba Greenway by ½ mile, resulting in a total length of nearly three miles. This Catawba Creek corridor will eventually connect downtown Gastonia to the Seven Oaks Trail near the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont.
CLEVELAND COUNTY WATER DISTRICT – $40,000
Funds will be used to acquire a key piece of riverfront property to help facilitate the future construction of over three miles of natural surface trail in north-central Cleveland County, including a hiking and biking trail with kayak access.
CITY OF SHELBY, NC – $75,000
Grant will fund the construction of a new bicycle and pedestrian suspension bridge over the First Broad River on the two-mile First Broad River Trail, replacing a bridge destroyed by flooding and improving bridge access for both cyclists and hikers.
CATAWBA LANDS CONSERVANCY – $40,000
Funding will assist in the acquisition of an 89-acre property located in eastern Lincoln County, which will allow for a one-mile extension of the existing Forney Creek Trail. The acquisition will enable a trail extension to Business Route 16 and create an opportunity for a public trailhead.
ROCK HILL, SC – $50,000
Grant will fund construction of a ¼ mile of the Manchester Creek Greenway linking River Park to Cel-River Road in eastern portion of Rock Hill. The greenway will connect to the Piedmont Medical Center Trail (Riverwalk), one of the most popular trails in the Thread Trail network.
TAR HEEL TRAILBLAZERS – $38,000
Funding to assist in the construction of a 3,315 ft. unpaved shared-use pathway, the first trail linking Belmont to Cramerton, via the Rocky Branch Mountain Bike Park.
TOWN OF MARSHVILLE, NC – $8,000
Grant will fund improved trail connectivity through two bridge projects, giving a boost to the “active living” opportunities in the community and benefitting the public health of residents.
YORK COUNTY, SC – $25,000
Funds will be used to design a five-mile unpaved trail on the 1,900-acre “Riverbend Property” located south of Rock Hill, a County-owned property intended to provide additional conservation and recreation opportunities for the public.