Matthews commissioners examine concerns regarding Hampton Green section
As Matthews finishes a study on the town’s proposed corridor of the Carolina Thread Trail and its connectors, town commissioners and citizens are concerned about how the project may affect residents around the Hampton Green subdivision.
Iona Thomas, greenway design group manager for Stewart Engineering, gave a report to commissioners at the board’s meeting Monday, July 23. The presentation outlined the Matthews corridor of the planned Thread Trail and its two connectors – one near Butler High School and the controversial Hampton Green connector.
If created, the Carolina Thread Trail would be a web of preserved natural areas linking together 15 counties, more than 40 destinations – including stops in Matthews and Mint Hill – and 7,300 square miles in the piedmont of North and South Carolina. Part of the trail would connect with Matthews’ greenway.
The Hampton Green plans include a proposed greenway leading from Bubbling Well Road southeast across Fullwood Lane, around the Platation Estates retirement community and north up South Trade Street toward Main Street. The proposal also includes a boardwalk leading from the greenway on the west side of Fullwood Lane to Goodwin Park and additional greenways surrounding the park.
The Butler connector includes a proposed greenway leading east from near Chambers Drive, passing by the school campus and continuing to O’Toole Drive. The greenway would have two pedestrian bridges, both east of the school.
Thomas, along with Stewart Engineering’s bicycle and pedestrian transportation planner Curtis Bridges, held a public meeting last month to discuss the thread trail and its two connectors.
“In the public process we didn’t get a whole lot of comments on the Carolina Thread Trail route or the Butler route, but boy when we got to Hampton Green, everything changed,” Thomas said. “We feel very confident in the due diligence and the feasibility associated with the first two corridors. We feel like we’ve done a lot of homework on Hampton Green, but we don’t feel like the vision of this corridor is mature enough to take any final planning action on.”
Thomas told commissioners that representatives from Goodman Park, home of the Matthews Athletic Recreation Association, expressed reluctance to have trails go through the property. Soil grading challenges also exist around the creek along the corridor leading behind some of the residences. In addition, Thomas said, the corridor would require an “extensive” boardwalk to cross, and there are concerns about beavers in the area.
At the public meeting, residents also expressed concerns with a pedestrian crossing to access the Matthews greenway near Chesney Glen. One Hampton Green citizen asked for a pedestrian crossing signal and button to make crossing Trade Street easier.
“Hampton Green residents did speak to me a lot that evening and would like a pedestrian crosswalk at Chesney Glen at the light,” Commissioner Jeff Miller said Monday at the board of commissioners meeting. “So bringing it up to Chesney Glen is a good suggestion, and they could walk through Chesney Glen to the connector there.”
Concerning the Butler connector, Thomas said the Carolina Thread Trail team will likely let the school decide how the greenway would connect to the school campus.
She said the Butler project also might qualify for grant money from the Federal Highway Administration’s Safe Routes to School program.
Thomas said the team hopes to have the corridor study complete next month, which will bring the project to the next level of funding and allow the town to begin securing grants for the project.
“We don’t expect any of the actual routes changing. We’re just fine-tuning the details at this point,” she said.
Mayor Jim Taylor said, at this point, commissioners need to direct town staff to continue the study and further examine their findings and revisions as they are reported.