I'll go ahead and say it. I like the Green Valley Grill just fine as a restaurant, but it is a logistical nightmare to have a breakfast meeting there. I'm not sure who all was there this morning because we were spread out all over the place! But, we still had a great program and I certainly learned a lot about some great things going on downtown.
Being a native of our fair city, I often hear visitors talk about how nice it is that we have so many "Green" spaces. From Bryan Park to Guilford Battleground, we've done a pretty fine job in our outlying areas to preserve and protect. Anyone going out to Battleground or Bur-Mil park can certainly find plenty of places to do some serious mountain bike riding or just take a leisurely walk or jog on the myriad of trails and greenways available.
Still, in downtown Greensboro, a lot of the landscape has become neglected over the years. With major revitalization efforts in place to get people to live, work and socialize in downtown Greensboro, what a great time to put some "Green" back in the downtown area! Well, there is no doubt about it, it takes some "Green" to make some "Green".
The Greensboro Downtown Greenway is a unique 4-mile walking and biking trail that forms an urban loop that surounds the City and will eventually connect to other Greenways throughout the area. With a projected cost of $26 million in public and private funds, it ain't cheap, but Greenways like this one have proven time and again to be great investments in our future. Nobody wants to invest in downtown Greensboro if it's a dilapidated, unsafe area to work and play in!
The Greenway loop provides a unique opportunity for Greensboro to have the only one of its kind in the state—and one of the few in the country. With an emphasis on public art, the Greenway will tell stories and engage trail users in a unique and authentic way. In addition, with the connections to the extensive existing and planned trails systems in both the city and the county, this loop will connect residents from all parts of the community and beyond.
Does it really help to revitalize our downtown? Well, our presenter this morning certainly provided a lot of facts and a great progress report on what I think is a wonderful project. Dabney Sanders, the Project Manager for the Downtown Greenway Loop, did a great job of showing us what has already been done and what is happening in the near future. Is it worth it? I think so. Based on national statistics, every dollar we invest in the Greenway could see a $5–$12 return in additional private investment. There are more than $200 million dollars of planned or completed projects along the Greenway that credit it as one of the criteria for making that investment! Plus, it looks really cool too, with very hip artwork along the route and a facelift for some areas of the city that really needed it. Check it out here, or better yet, go and take a walk on what is open now!