Ribbon Cutting Saturday, June 23rd at 10:00am
Tucked away off Tyvola Rd alongside the Back Yard Trails sits a new 1.5-mile section of Greenway that connects with the existing 1-mile segment behind Huntingtowne Farms Park. The new section may be Charlotte’s best stretch of Greenway close to center city. I just have to get there.
It’s 5:30pm on a Monday, and I’m off to check out the newest section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, Carolina Thread and Cross Charlotte Trail. Leaving Dilworth by bike from near Uptown, I decide to hop over to Freedom Park and follow the current Greenway to Brandywine Rd (at Park Road Shopping Center) where a future section will take me all the way to my destination. For now, however, I have to make my way up to Park Rd. Traffic is terrible as usual and I’m getting honked at as I navigate down the narrow sidewalk during rush hour. After a stressful crossing of Park Rd, I tight-rope a mile and a half to Tyvola and turn right as cars fly by just out of arm’s reach. This is not helping me wind down after a hard day’s work. Once on Tyvola, the trail parking lot is about a half mile ahead on the left, but I see new pavement and markers to the right, so cut in and scoot around and under Tyvola. I’ve finally made it.
The trail is nice, but I’m still on edge from the ride over. Moments later, however, I notice something. I don’t hear anything. No cars, no people, just running water. This place is pretty secluded. My tension eases, I make a quick stop to lock up the bike and off we go. The trail is flat, starting out through hundreds of what will eventually be large red maples and towering cherry bark oak trees. Rows of Cherokee dogwood, amalanchier, witchhazel and other trees and shrubs grow along the path courtesy of Trees Charlotte. The mostly asphalt and occasional concrete path follows one of the wider sections of Little Sugar Creek and soon crosses a red metal bridge donated by Blue Cross Blue Shield (where the ribbon cutting will take place Saturday).
Runners, cyclists and walkers are already out here and the trail is wide enough to accommodate them all. Multiple access points connect to the trail as I cross under Archdale Rd and follow the trail for another mile and across a few more bridges. I’m soon in Huntingtowne Farms Park and on an older section of Greenway that is one mile in length. I pass more parking at Huntingtowne Farms Swim and Racquet club and finally come to the end of the line at the local Community Garden. The combined old and new trail is just under 2.5 miles in length start to finish and the south side’s parking is at the end of Ramblewood Lane.
Running back along the new section I am completely oblivious to being so close to the city. Little Sugar Creek looks more like a river and the red steel bridges give a distinctly rural feel. If you live anywhere along the trail itself, or even across Tyvola in Madison Park and want a great 5 mile out and back I highly recommend it.
As for connecting back to Park Road Shopping Center and uptown? That project is not scheduled to be completed until 2021. City and County engineers and planners are working extremely hard to acquire land and complete design in order to begin construction by the summer of 2019.
For the ribbon cutting, run or bike on over to the first red bridge just inside the Tyvola Rd entrance at 10:00am. If you drive, parking is available across from the Queens University Sports Complex on Tyvola Rd.
Some staff will be out Saturday if you want to thank them and a few elected officials such as County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour will be on hand as well if you want to remind them to keep funding the trail and greenway projects. The festivities last until 1:00pm, but if you don’t make it out Saturday make sure to find your way down to check out Charlotte’s newest section of Greenway!
-Written by Franklin Keathley