County moves forward with Middle Fork Greenway project
by Allison Haver
The Middle Fork Greenway, which is a 6.5-mile multi-use greenway trail, is a project designed to connect Boone and Blowing Rock.
The part of the trail to be constructed is 1,965 feet and is located between Tweetsie and Mystery Hill and goes under the U.S. 321 highway and onto a piece of county-owned property known as the Whitener tract.
The contract is for $350,616, which was $42,000 less than the other bid from Greene Construction.
Commissioners also approved a contract for Vaughn and Melton for engineering and construction administration of the project.
During the last board meeting, Watauga County Planning and Inspections Director Joe Furman recommended to the board the selection of Vaughn and Melton, based on the firm's experience and proximity to Boone.
All in all, the costs for this portion of the Middle Fork Greenway total nearly $389,000, with $375,000 of that to be paid for with N.C. Department of Traffic funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
High Country Pathways, an incorporated nonprofit specializing in trails, greenways and blue ways throughout Watauga County, offered to pay any amount above the $375,000 in order to complete the project.
Commissioners directed County Attorney Stacy "Four" Eggers to draft an agreement between the county and the nonprofit to ensure that the county will not have to pay any costs that exceed costs with the project.