Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities (Utilities) is installing a large wastewater pipe under the McAlpine Creek Greenway and Park during 2013 or later. Sections of both the greenway and park will be closed around the construction area.
During a February 2011 public meeting, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department discussed the restoration options for the McAlpine Park, including trails beside the creek. Utilities will restore park and greenway to original elevation and rebuild disturbed trails along an alignment determined by Park and Recreation within the construction right of way.
The existing trails are loose gravel which flow into the creek during heavy rains. Reapplying gravel costs the county over $50,000 a year. Tons of gravel washed into the creek causes environmental damage, negatively affecting the creek and aquatic life. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is planning to install asphalt over the crushed stone base to minimize maintenance costs and negative impacts on the creek. Park and Recreation planning staff met with a focus group of runners and coaches on July 21, 2011 about the potential for creating new natural surface trails to supplement the greenway. Operation of the existing 5K will be maintained with minor revisions. Approximately 2 miles of new natural surface trails are being planned and may be available before the start of sewer construction. The general feeling was that the resulting combination of trail facilities being planned would be better and offer more options than the current facilities.
Park and Recreation was asked to consider soft-rubber options for the greenway trail, but the high cost, on-going maintenance issues and the need to eliminate bicycle traffic on these surfaces makes them inappropriate for a greenway trail.
Utilities and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department will work to minimize construction impacts and maintain access to the 5K running trails in the McAlpine Park trails during August 1st through December 15th to accommodate running events. The construction area will be fenced for safety.