Richfield Town Council approves Falcon Trail route through Tyson Park

Published 3:15 pm Monday, April 11, 2022

After months of discussion between officials of the Falcon Trail and the town of Richfield, the trail has found a path towards completion.

The Richfield Town Council recently voted unanimously for a resolution to support the Tom Webb Section of the Falcon Trail, part of the larger Carolina Thread Trail.

This trail for bicycles and pedestrians will make its way down Deese Road and head south into Tyson Family Park. The route for the trail takes it around a pond in the park and curls back to the eastern edge of the property, looping back to Deese. The new trail will also have a direct line of access from Deese Road down to Richfield School.

The resolution states Richfield received a $70,000 grant from the Carolina Thread Trail to build the first section of the trail between Misenheimer and Richfield Park. Another grant of $100,000 has been received by Richfield for the Tom Webb section of the trail. The Tom Webb section is the part of the trail which leaves from Richfield Park and ends at the Tyson Park.

Richfield’s council also unanimously approved $5,000 to give to the Friends of North Stanly Trails and Parks volunteer organization to offset part of the $35,000 for a pedestrian light on Main Street

Commissioners discussed the trail at length with Mike Reimann, former Misenheimer mayor and the leader of the Friends organization. Discussions included the type of lights to be used for a pedestrian crosswalk at Richfield Park and N.C. Highway 49.

Reimann said the lights flash off and on. The lights could be yellow or red and may be brighter LED lights, Reimann added, also saying a button had to be pressed to activate the lights.

“I can imagine the neighbors probably wouldn’t like to see that thing flash continuously,” Mayor Terry Deese said.

Commissioner Barry Byrd asked about a light on Main Street, saying he did not know about it, and asked if it was part of the original plans with the state Department of Transportation (DOT). Reimann said it was.

Byrd also asked who would maintain the light bulbs for the crosswalks. Riemann said DOT would.

Reimann also said the Friends had spent $8,000 on design, engineering and study for the crosswalk, and have spent $14,000 on the trail, with another $75,000 to be spent.

Byrd said, per the language in the grants, the maintenance for the trail would be sent back to the town if the Friends organization ceased to exist.

“Ultimately, the agreement with the Friends is as good as it will be until there is no more Friends,” Byrd said.

The board and Reimann differed in terms of what the state DOT was aware of in terms of what would happen to the crosswalk and lights if N.C. 49 was ever expanded into four lanes. Reimann said he had a document in which DOT had signed off on the crosswalk, but Commissioner Christy Necaise said she had a letter in which DOT was not aware of whether the trail would potentially go over or under to take people across the road.

Byrd said the board “needs to get this finished,” to which Deese agreed, but said it would be “putting the burden on future boards.” He added, “I don’t think any of us are against the thread trail.”

When asked about insurance, Riemann said the trail was “minimal liability” because of its construction.

Kevin Almond moved to approve the resolution for the trail, seconded by Necaise.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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