Within the next couple of months, the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization will present a draft of the New Hanover County Comprehensive Greenway Plan for adoption to the various municipalities throughout the county. The plan, and the new greenways and blueways projects that could result from its recommendations, were made possible by the success of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail, said WMPO executive director Mike Kozlosky.
“The cross-city trail has shown and demonstrated that people desire these facilities … for recreation or transportation,” Kozlosky said. “Recognizing that that facility has seen significant utilization, we wanted to build upon those successes and develop those facilities throughout the community.”
Within the town of Wrightsville Beach, Kozlosky said there are numerous opportunities for improvements to the greenways like multiuse paths and sharrows, which are roads with marked bicycle lanes.
“What we have seen with Wrightsville Beach is the opportunity to build upon the Pelican Drive and Salisbury Street plan for a multiuse path connection there,” he said. The plan also recommended sharrows on Causeway Drive, Waynick Boulevard and Lumina Avenue. Another unique opportunity to improve outdoor recreation in Wrightsville Beach and the rest of the county is to take advantage of the area’s numerous waterways, Kozlosky said.
“We have a significant amount of opportunity here; we have several creeks and streams to utilize for canoeing and kayaking,” Kozlosky said. “The plan does recommend improving that access for continual ingress and egress of users along Banks Channel, Motts Channel, Lees Cut and the Intracoastal Waterway.”
Although there are waterway access points around Wrightsville Beach, Kozlosky said many, like those on Waynick Boulevard, are not well marked and that appropriate signage would be an easy solution to encourage more use of the existing facilities.
In the draft of the comprehensive greenway plan to be presented, the document outlines a multitude of positive ecological, social and economic impacts additional greenways and blueways would have on the community. Social improvements that can be expected from additional greenways include increased connectivity within different communities and the improvement of personal and community health. Furthermore, the plan states that residential and property values increase with added greenways, and that the growth in trail tourism would in turn generate more local tourism revenue.
From a health and ecological standpoint, the plan states that connectivity improvements reduce the amount of pollution from automobiles and can lead to educational opportunities about the protection of local flora and fauna found along the trails.
Although Kozlosky said he knows the recommendations outlined in this plan will not be implemented overnight, he said it does present realistic greenway and blueway solutions for the county’s municipalities along with details about public and private funding sources.
For more information and to read the draft of the comprehensive greenway plan, visit