Upper Neuse Connector Opening Offers New Greenway Access
The new 558-foot bridge spanning the Neuse River connects Wake Forest and Raleigh via greenways.
With the opening celebration of the Upper Neuse Connector atop a new 558-foot bridge spanning the Neuse River last month, Sig Hutchinson said we have reached a “tipping point.” Hutchinson, who is an advocacy and communications expert with Sig Hutchinson Communications, Chair of the Wake County Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee, and a member of the AHA Executive Committee, said, “We have reached a ‘tipping point’ with citizens in Wake County understanding what the greenway system can mean for our region.”
The bridge spanning the Neuse River connects Wake Forest’s Smith Creek Greenway to Raleigh’s Neuse River Greenway, which opened earlier this year. In remarks at the opening celebration on Nov. 14, Hutchinson noted that residents are beginning to see—and benefit from—a greenway system that provides them with opportunities to enjoy the greenways for pleasure, for health and for transportation. Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones, Raleigh Mayor Nancy MacFarlane and Wake Forest Greenways Advisory Board Chair Jan Ammons joined in the celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Sig Hutchinson at the opening ceremony for the Upper Neuse Connector.
The Neuse River Greenway Trail is part of an extensive 28-mile greenway system that when completed in 2013 will link Wake Forest, Knightdale, Clayton and Raleigh. “The Neuse River Greenway is the spine connecting Eastern Wake County towns via a continual greenway system into Raleigh,” Hutchinson said. “And that has the potential to connect through Raleigh to Umstead State Park, into Cary and ultimately to Durham, without ever having to get on a road, for all practical purposes.”
Most people may not ever go that far on the greenway, Hutchinson said, “but the magic is accessing the greenway at any point along that corridor and being able to go anywhere else on that corridor.”
Wake County’s Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee has $20 million in funds to allocate to open space and greenway projects over the next two years. Municipalities in Wake County can apply for funds through a grant process that involves a 50-50 match, where the municipality must match the funds provided.