Mount Airy’s new greenway connector opened to the public in early July, but an event is scheduled next week to make that official.
This will occur during an Oct. 28 ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the linking of the Emily B. Taylor and Ararat River greenways. It begins at 11 a.m.
Appropriately, the ceremony is planned at 139 Kodiak Lane, near the intersection of Worth Street and U.S. 52, where the connector begins at the southernmost point of the Emily B. Taylor Greenway. The program will be held at a bridge built there as part of the connector project.
It has provided a continuous 10-foot-wide paved trail of nearly seven miles which loops around the city from Veterans Memorial Park on West Lebanon Street to Riverside Park.
The connector has been heavily used by bicyclists, walkers and runners during the months leading up to next week’s ribbon-cutting that was announced by city Parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander.
“There is no particular reason that this date or time was specifically selected,” Alexander explained Monday.
But there was a definite reason behind the choosing of the ceremony site.
“We selected the bridge location just because it is so visually impressive and represents the magnitude of the connectivity displayed in this project,” Alexander added.
Mount Airy officials recently voted to name that structure the Michael Gray York Memorial Bridge in recognition of a cyclist who was fatally injured on a highway nearby in 1991, before the city’s greenway network came about.
City and other representatives are expected to attend the Oct. 28 program, but an exact listing had not been determined Monday. Alexander has said it will recognize all the partners who had a hand in the connector effort.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the greenway connector was held in September 2015 near the same location as the ribbon cutting.
It attracted officials of the municipality, Mount Airy City Schools, the N.C. Department of Transportation (which supplied a $2.2 million grant for the project), the firms that designed and built the connector and others, including state Rep. Sarah Stevens of Mount Airy.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.