Spencer lands another $50,000 in grant money for Yadkin River project

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2022

SPENCER – Carolina Thread Trail has announced it’s giving Spencer $50,000 to support its Yadkin River trailhead project on the Rowan County side of Wil-Cox Bridge.

The grant is the latest in a long line of recent funding the town has secured for park projects and the latest installment of money the town wants to use to blow past its initial first phase development of the trailhead and instead construct its final vision with amenities and a greenway connection.

The grant was part of a package of grants totaling $755,500 for trail projects throughout North and South Carolina. The grant Spencer received is on the higher end of those awarded, though the grants ranged from $5,000 to $200,000 awarded to Shelby to build a Thread Trail connection to Shelby and support a plan for an 11-mile trail that would connect to South Carolina.

The town of Spencer had about $135,000 on hand to start construction in July, but it pushed back plans with a major injection of $250,000 in July raised through local philanthropic group Friends of Rowan on top of previous contributions from the group and the possibility of a trail grant from the N.C. Parks Service in the works. The new funding means the town may be able to abandon a phased approach and build a finished trail with additions such as benches in one swoop.

Spencer Mayor Jonathan Williams said the town is getting closer to funding the entire project, and the grant is another win.

“This is yet another piece of the puzzle,” Williams said. “What I’m so excited about is that we’ve been able to do this thus far in its entirety by people that see value in the park and us extending it on the Rowan County side.”

The town has contracted with design firm Benesch to make the park a reality.

Carolina Thread Trail is behind building a network of trails in the Carolinas with the goal to eventually cover more than 1,600 miles.

This one of a handful of major park projects the town has undertaken recently. It will soon double the size of Stanback Educational Forest via a contribution from Three Rivers Land Trust and is in the planning and fundraising stages for creating a new town park on Salisbury Avenue. The town is also contracting with Benesch for that project.

The new park construction projects have largely been managed by town Special Projects Manager Joe Morris, who is also leading the effort to secure grant funding. The in addition to the trail grant the town is applying for it is also seeking a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant for the Salisbury Avenue park.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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