City will seek grant to fund greenway project extension
City of Sanford employees plan to submit a grant application by the end of this week to fund an expansion of the Endor Iron Furnace Greenway.
The quarter-mile expansion, dubbed the Medical Mile Greenway Extension, would continue the greenway from Kiwanis Family Park to Central Carolina Hospital, said Sanford-Lee County Planning Director Bob Bridwell, offering a variety of health and therapeutic advantages.
The city staff is recommending Sanford apply for a N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant, a grant used to develop recreational projects that serve the general public, to offset the estimated $512,000 expansion. The grant requires a local match of 50 percent, which can include donated land or items to the project, and the city will be notified sometime in the late spring or summer if it receives the grant.
The greenway extension would not only act as a therapeutic effect for patients, but can also provide nearby residents and employees a new mean of transportation and source of recreation, Bridwell said.
"Even though it's just a quarter of a mile, it is a very important and strategic quarter of a mile," he said. "It accesses a number of different populations. If we look at improving the fitness aspect in our population, this is one more way to do it."
The expansion is a quality of life issue, Downtown Sanford Inc. Executive Director David Montgomery said during a Monday informational session, which was held to solicit community input. The expansion also provides the city an opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle and the greenway acts as an economic engine, he said.
The Medical Mile would include easement acquisition, greenway development, therapeutic outdoor exercise equipment and amenities such as benches and trash cans.
Fred McIven, a triathlete who attended the Monday meeting, said he's interested in the expansion and also cited some safety concerns in other areas of the greenway, including lighting and bikers adhering to the Kiwanis Park rules.
Ashley Quinones, who attended the meeting, said she wanted to ensure safety features were included with the therapeutic outdoor exercise equipment, especially since hospital patients or the disabled would be frequent users.