Town of Boone awarded grant to conduct feasibility study


Evan Bates

A biker enjoys the relaxed terrain of the Greenway, one of the few flatter areas to bike around Boone, making it a popular spot for bikers, skaters, roller bladers, runners and more, Oct. 23, 2022.

Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor

The Town of Boone was recently awarded a grant to conduct a multimodal feasibility study to identify possible routes that will increase ease of transportation and benefit the community in numerous ways.

The $118,450 grant was given to the Town of Boone by North Carolina’s Department of Transportation.

The study will establish a steering committee consisting of a group of officials that will identify routes for multi-use pathways and oversee its operations. In addition to identifying routes and pathways, the committee will estimate budget costs for the project.

Boone’s Greenway Trail, also known as the Cross Boone Connector, will be extended per the council’s recommendations from its 2014 pedestrian and bicycle plan. 

The route will be extended from its previous stopping point, Pride Drive and Leola Street, to Holmes Drive and Rivers Street, allowing for better access for App State students.

Boone Town Council member Jon Dalton George said the study will improve accessibility and equity within the community. 

A bicycle and pedestrian-friendly culture is extremely important,” George said.

George said historically, those without a personal car are sometimes not considered when it comes to transportation. He explained by creating safer and more efficient alternatives to transportation other than cars, the town will be able to establish better means of equity.

George also said that the project will reduce carbon emissions, add green space, reduce traffic accidents and reduce road noise.

The study will update the town’s 2004 alternative transportation improvement feasibility study and its 2014 pedestrian and bicycle plan. 

The grant for the study has aided in the progression of the project.

Michelle Brown is a grant coordinator for the Town of Boone and aided in writing the grant proposal. She said the study plays an important role in the expansion.

“All of this is information that the town council can use to better plan for the future and budget to make these projects become a realization,” Brown said.

Brown also talked about the expansion of the Greenway and how it will benefit the community.

“The Greenway’s been there since the late 1990s, so I think we feel like it’s time to go ahead and go to phase two and this was a great way to get it started,” she said.

Brown said she wrote the grant in “a couple of months.”

There is also support from the community for the project.

Two local organizations, App Health Care and Harmony Lanes, wrote letters of support for the new project.

Jennifer Schroeder, a member of Harmony Lanes, said the organization advocates for the introduction of safer routes.

“Our mission is to create safe, inclusive multimodal transportation opportunities in our area,” Schroeder said.

George said that as of now, there is no set time frame for the construction of the routes,  and the study is the first step of the project that is to come.

“I’m pretty stoked about it,” George said.