CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Friday, Channel 9 got an inside look at a multimillion-dollar county project that is underway to expand the greenway system in south Charlotte.
The county has spent years developing the plans for roughly $3 million in improvements to the greenway near the Mint Museum on Randolph Road.
There are several projects happening in the area. The county is working to alleviate flooding, and it’s also extending part of the greenway between Briar Creek and Meadowood Lane.
On Friday, crews installed an 80-foot pedestrian bridge to connect the greenway near Eastover Park.
Some residents, including Patricia Davis, question whether the bridge is necessary.
"People feel it's a colossal waste of money," Davis said. "This is the greenway to nowhere. It goes from the parking lot not even a mile down."
The new portion is roughly a mile long, but park officials said it's an important part of the greenway master plan to connect 150 miles of trails across Charlotte.
Davis said she is also saddened that the drainage project means trees will be cut down.
"The real problem has been the unnecessary rerouting of this little tiny little stream," Davis said.
Stormwater officials said part of the area floods, and the drainage work will protect nearby homes.
"There was a problem here because the drainage was not happening properly, so we did have to add capacity and that did cost some trees," Mark Boone, the spokesperson for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, said.
Boone said crews plan to plant new trees, and will also do stream restoration work to improve the habitat and water quality.
"As a team, we are doing everything we can to listen to the concerns that are expressed," Brian Bennett, greenway project manager, said.
Park officials said they may have some critics, but they're focused on the master plan for the entire city.
"It fits into the larger picture of connectivity and providing connections,” Bennett said.
Crews expect to have the stretch of the greenway finished by March 2018. The county also has a partnership with the Catawba Lands Conservancy. When the work near Eastover Park is complete, county officials hope teachers and students will study the habitat.
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