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Plans revived to extend Crabtree Creek Trail to Umstead State Park

The city of Raleigh recently applied for a $2 million grant to help pay for a one-mile extension of Crabtree Creek Trail so that it connects to Umstead State Park. A legal fight, however, still blocks the project from becoming a reality.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Triangle's greenway system covers four counties with a network of interconnected paths and trails that are soon expected to span more than 200 miles.

Many greenway users, however, are disappointed that Raleigh's 14.5-mile Crabtree Creek Trail, which begins at Milburnie Road, ends abruptly just 1 mile from Umstead State Park in the northwestern part of the city.

"The idea of being able to take my bike and ride there, then take a walk and come home without ever stepping in my car – it's fabulous," said Roz Egan, who frequently hikes the trail.

The city of Raleigh is looking to bridge the grassy gap.

It recently applied for a $2 million grant from the Wake County Open Space Partnership to extend the Crabtree Creek Trail to just inside Umstead Park – a $4 million project that would be split between both the city and the county.

"The one chokepoint that is stopping us from connecting Raleigh to the rest of the entire region is right there," said Sig Hutchinson, chairman of Wake County's Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee. "This, ultimately, is the holy grail for this system."

Hutchinson and the committee are expected to make recommendations to the Wake County Board of Commissioners within the next two months on how the county should allocate $21 million in grant money for greenway projects.

The Crabtree Creek trail extension was originally funded several years ago but because of litigation with a nearby quarry, the money was allocated elsewhere.

That court case is still pending.

"We have to continue to be in dialogue in hopes, ultimately, something can be resolved and we can make this corridor complete," Hutchinson said.

Dan Dwyer is one of many who hopes the case is on the fast-track to a resolution.

"I've been staring at this trail for years. It's an empty greenway trail," Dwyer said. "We need to figure something out to get it past that quarry back and get this trail open to the rest of the people."

Construction is already underway to extending the trail eastward by late spring of 2014.

In May, the City Council awarded a $4.1 million contract that will extend along Crabtree Creek from Milburnie Road to the Neuse River Trail at Anderson Point Park.


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