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City eyes grant application for Clear Creek greenway

Drawing shows proposed Clear Creek Greenway linking the Oklawaha Greenway at Berkeley Park (left) to Carolina Village (right). [CITY OF HENDERSONVILLE ENGINEERING]

The Hendersonville City Council on Thursday was scheduled to consider a staff request authorize a grant application to help fund a $1 million greenway along Clear Creek from Carolina Village to Berkeley Park.

Pledging a $250,000 donation from Carolina Village and $341,800 from the city as the local match, the city wants to ask for $341,800 from the state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which makes annual matching grants for new park facilities and major improvements.
Projected to cost $933,600, the greenway would run in an east-west direction for about four-fifths of a mile and would connect Carolina Village and the northern terminus of the 1.6-mile Oklawaha Greenway, which runs from Jackson Park to Berkeley Park.
City Manager John Connet had been meeting with Carolina Village leaders since the retirement community began planning a major addition, which is now under construction. The Carolina Village Executive Committee authorized the grant on Nov. 27.
“We kind of got with them early on to ask if we could get some easement on the backside” of the property along the creek, city engineer Brent Detwiler said. “They seemed very interested and in tune with that and they set aside some money to help us with a match."
The project would include a bridge over Mud Creek, at a cost of $221,000.

The Clear Creek extension to the Oklawaha Greenway would fit in with a master plan to extend the city greenway all the way to the Sam’s Club and Walmart area, using a greenway along the creek under I-26 as part of the interstate widening project, then following a city sewer line easement. The city hopes to seek easements from private landowners to bridge gaps between public land.
Plans call for a 10-foot wide paved greenway with 1-foot stone edges similar to the Okalawaha Greenway.
The city might find itself competing with Henderson County when the local government bodies apply for state PARTF grants this spring. On the agenda for the Board of Commissioners on Monday is a request to authorize a county PARTF grant application to realign and elevate the Oklawaha Greenway segment from Jackson Park to Seventh Avenue. That piece of the greenway is often either underwater or covered with silt after Mud Creek floods. The county staff estimated the greenway work would cost $336,000. The city pledged $173,000 to the county as payment for running a sewer line through the park. That money could be used as part of the local match, county officials said.
Business and Community Development Director John Mitchell and Parks and Recreation Director Carleen Dixon also proposed three other possible uses for a state park grant: correcting drainage problems at Etowah Park, at a cost of $625,000; rebuilding a “failing walking trail” at Etowah Park, $40,000; and constructing a walking trail and park access at the Kunz Farm Park, a new county park along the French Broad River made possible by a land donation, for $555,000. The Board of Commissioners on Monday authorized the park staff to draft a grant application seeking $500,000. Commissioners said they'd decide in their April 17 meeting which specific projects to pursue.

PARTF grant applications are due May 1 and the state board decides the grants in late summer or early fall. If the city were to win the Clear Creek Greenway grant, construction could start by the fall of 2020, Detwiler said.