Town seeking grant to extend trail project

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Mineral Spring Trail

By Stan Welch

Williamston Town Council convened Tuesday night in an unusually fluid combination of formats. The agenda called for a special meeting and work session. Immediately after calling the meeting to order, Mayor Mack Durham made a motion to suspend the regular meeting to go into a public meeting, i.e. public hearing, concerning the proposed extension of the Mineral Spring Trails greenway.

No one rose to speak about the proposal, and the Mayor reconvened the regular meeting, or special meeting, as the agenda indicated, and then proceeded to give a brief presentation about the proposal,which would require obtaining a grant of $100,000, with the town matching that on an eighty/twenty basis. The town’s share would be $19,032. The funds are administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

Mayor Durham explained that the town’s share could come from next year’s hospitality tax revenues. He also added that the town would provide in kind service in lieu of funding whenever possible. The trail extension could possibly take the trail on to Williams Street, and/or from the water plant down through the creek bottoms to Minor Street, where it might connect with the sidewalk system around the schools.

The existing trail that runs through the Mineral Spring Park is a quarter mile long. The proposed extension would add nineteen hundred feet to that. Durham’s presentation touted the various benefits of such a trail,including recreational, educational and environmental benefits.

After Durham’s presentation,the council approved a resolution committing the matching funds contingent on the town receiving the grant. After the vote to approve the resolution, the special meeting adjourned and the Council began a brief work session.

The mayor quickly ran through a list of items that will be on the agenda at next Monday’s regularly scheduled Council meeting. Among those items will be a proposed name change for Brock Lane to Wayne Brock Lane. Councilman Otis Scott informed the Mayor that the family of Mr. Brock had contacted him to express their wishes that the change not be made.

Two other ordinances will also be up for second reading. One is an ordinance concerning use of the Municipal Center building; the other is a prowling ordinance introduced by Police Chief Tony Taylor.

A date for the Fourth of July freedom celebration will be proposed. The date, Saturday, July 2, does not conflict with any other nearby festivities, according to Durham. Councilman Rockey Burgess, who was not present , has requested funding for a National Guard reunion, and that will be discussed Monday, as will a resolution by the Council expressing the town’s commitment to safety.