We believe that greenways, parks, and nature preserves are fundamental to a healthy, vibrant, equitable community. That’s why we spent 2022 advocating for Mecklenburg County to create more of them.
Access to public green spaces is essential to our residents’ well-being. On top of that, a robust greenway network can connect neighborhoods and provide safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists and boost equity by giving more options to residents most in need of transportation and recreation opportunities. Greenways are sustainable corridors for automobile-free transportation that make it safer to choose to walk or ride a bike and reduce our reliance on cars. The less we drive the more we reduce the largest source of air and climate pollution.
Here's a look back at what we did to push for more greenways and parks in 2022.
We started the Growing our Greenways initiative
Sustain Charlotte teamed up with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission members, Partners for Parks, and Carolina Thread Trail to launch Growing our Greenways. Together, we asked Mecklenburg County to create more public green spaces that increase access for all people in our community.
We asked the county to budget at least $35 million in their FY23 budget to buy land for greenways, parks, and nature preserves — and we asked for that money to be invested equitably, creating more green spaces in historically underserved areas. We also asked that the county allocate enough resources to build *at least* 50 new miles of greenways by the end of fiscal year 2028 and complete the Greenway Master Plan by 2035.
We asked YOU to weigh in
Many of you signed a call to action asking county commissioners to approve the Park and Recreation Commission's recommendations to build out our greenway network. You can still sign the call to action and let your voice be heard!
We saw record funding for land acquisitions!
In June, Mecklenburg County commissioners approved $50 million to buy land to expand and improve our greenways, parks, and nature preserves. We were delighted that our county's leaders took this vital step toward a more connected community.
Mecklenburg County has already started buying more land for greenways
As of Nov. 1, Mecklenburg County had closed on 120 acres of land spread throughout the county to improve and expand its network of greenways, parks, and nature preserves. The county has spent about $8.3 million on acquisitions for the effort so far, and some of the parcels were donated. Additionally, county commissioners have approved about $28.1 million for roughly 184 more acres of land, though closing still needs to be completed. The county has also either submitted offers or is negotiating to buy more land. That's according to documentation submitted for the Nov. 9 meeting of the county's Environmental Stewardship Committee.
We've been introducing more people to our greenways
In February, we hosted a virtual event with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation staff to provide information about county plans to expand and improve public green spaces. We followed that up with a series of six greenway tours throughout 2022, inviting people to walk or bike with us at greenways across Mecklenburg County.
- In March, we explored a new section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Pineville.
- In May, we went to Toby Creek Greenway in northeast Charlotte.
- In June, we visited a new segment of McDowell Creek Greenway in Cornelius.
- In September, we led a tour of Campbell Creek Greenway in east Charlotte.
- In October, we went to west Charlotte's Irwin and Stewart Creek greenways.
- And finally, in November, we wrapped up 2022 by inviting people to a sneak peek of the first section of Long Creek Greenway in north Charlotte — a brand-new greenway!
Stay tuned for more greenway events in 2023. We’d love to see you out there! In the meantime, we hope you’ll consider supporting our advocacy by making a donation or becoming a Sustain Charlotte member for just $10 per month!
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