SPENCER – Carolina Thread Trail announced that it is awarding Spencer $50,000 to support her Yadkin River Trailhead project on the Rowan County side of the Wil-Cox Bridge.
The grant is the latest in a long line of recent funding the city has secured for park projects and the final installment of money the city wants to use to move beyond its initial first phase of trailhead development and build at the place its final vision with equipment and a greenway link.
The grant was part of a grant package totaling $755,500 for trail projects throughout North and South Carolina. The grant Spencer has received is the largest of those given, although grants ranged from $5,000 to $200,000 given to Shelby to build a Thread Trail connection in Shelby and support a plan for an 11-mile trail that would connect to South Carolina.
The town of Spencer had about $135,000 to begin construction in July, but pushed back plans with a major injection of $250,000 in July raised through local philanthropic group Friends of Rowan in addition to contributions previous group and the possibility of a trail grant from the NC Parks Service in the works. The new funding means the city may be able to abandon a phased approach and build a finished trail with additions like benches all at once.
Spencer Mayor Jonathan Williams said the city is getting closer to funding the entire project and the grant is another win.
“It’s yet another piece of the puzzle,” Williams said. “What excites me so much is that we’ve been able to get it done so far in its entirety by people who see the value of the park and we’re expanding it on the Rowan County side.”
The city contracted with design firm Benesch to make the park a reality.
Carolina Thread Trail pioneered the construction of a network of trails in the Carolinas with the goal of eventually covering over 1,600 miles.
This is one of the few major park projects the city has undertaken recently. It will soon double the size of the Stanback Educational Forest with a contribution from Three Rivers Land Trust and is in the planning and fundraising phase for the creation of a new municipal park on Salisbury Avenue. The city also signs a contract with Benesch for this project.
Plans to build new parks have largely been handled by the city’s special projects manager, Joe Morris, who is also leading the grant effort. In addition to the trail grant, the city is also applying for a grant from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for Salisbury Avenue Park.