Grant to fund bicycle/walking trail in Isle of Wight

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—With a grant from the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Isle of Wight County is set to embark on a project to build a series of pedestrian and bike trails connecting the Town of Smithfield with Nike Park.

The $647,000 Enhancement Program grant from the CTB will enable Isle of Wight to take the first concrete steps toward building the path, which has been in the planning stages for eight years.

The Isle of Wight County Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee identified the trail in the year 2000 as a means to connect citizens to recreation activities, shopping destinations, historical sites and town, county and state governmental facilities.

The county began accepting donations of right-of-ways that year, and about 75 percent of Phase I either has been donated or is already paved for pedestrian access, according to Don Robertson, the county’s public information officer.

The state money would be used to complete that first phase, which encompasses a 1.4-mile multi-use trail from the intersection of South Church Street and Battery Park Road to the intersection of Battery Park Road and Nike Park Road.

The grant also could be used to purchase the remaining right-of-way.

The project would be completed in three phases.

Phase II would continue the multi-use trail from the intersection of Battery Park Road and Nike Park Road to Nike Park District Park, a distance of about 2.4 miles. The final phase would be a quarter-mile pedestrian sidewalk connecting with a sidewalk being developed for South Church Street going west into Smithfield.

According to Robertson, Isle of Wight will pursue funding for Phase II in the fall.

The overall project was designated as one of the highest priorities of the county’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Master Plan, adopted as a part of the comprehensive plan in 2006.