Leaders work on plans for ‘rail trail' for light rail

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte leaders are working on plans to turn light rail passengers into patrons in SouthEnd and Uptown.
 
The idea is called Rail Trail.

It would connect bars, businesses and restaurants along 4 miles of the tracks.

"When you visit Charlotte folks would say, 'Hey, make sure you go to the Rail Trail,’” said Cheryl Myers with Center City Partners.
 
Myers said the Rail Trail project is a series of small parks or activity areas where people can sit, shop and enjoy the city then quickly catch ride.
 
Some ideas on the list include a skate park and a beer garden outside Triple C Brewing Co.
 
Brewer Scott Kimball said it would be packed, especially during summer months when their tasting room and patio fill up.
 
"Especially since we do serve alcoholic beverages, we promote not only the sustainability of the light rail but people having a safe ride home," he said.
 
Plans also map out a green space near the popular Price's Chicken Coop.
 
Channel 9 asked Center City Partners who will pay for the parks.
 
"We want to make sure that the private sector, at the outset of the project, helps pay for the project," said Myers.
 
Public grants may help fund construction too but officials hope grass roots efforts go strong and the Rail Trail will kick Charlotte's culture up a notch.
 
The parks won't pop up overnight, but city officials are working on the framework plan in 2014.
 
Center city partners hired a local landscape architect firm to iron out the costs of each park.
 
They hope to have those numbers later this summer.

Click here for vision highlights of the project.