The Four Mile Creek Greenway will soon be a reality in Matthews following approval of a unique financial agreement between the Town of Matthews and Mecklenburg County.

“We want to extend our appreciation to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners for agreeing to this unique financial partnership. By cooperatively working together the people of Matthews and Mecklenburg County will soon be able to enjoy a greenway while capitalizing on a favorable building climate. It is a win-win for all of us,” said Matthews Mayor Lee Myers.

The Greenway will encompass over two miles of path composed of paved trails, boardwalk, neighborhood entrances and pedestrian bridges. The County will construct the Greenway from run East John Street to Brenham Lane and from Four Mile Creek north to the former Matthews Public Works Facility. The Town will construct a connector path for this site back to South Trade Street to complete the project. The Greenway will connect many neighborhoods, Squirrel Lake Park, Matthews Elementary School, Matthews Community Center and will provide alternate access to downtown Matthews.

Mecklenburg County was scheduled to begin construction of the greenway this year but due to economic restraints the project was put on hold after bids were received. Initial information on the bids indicated opportunities to build the Greenway for less than the $2.5M anticipated cost of construction.

In order to take advantage of these favorable costs, the Town of Matthews will now upfront the construction costs by borrowing the money needed to complete the project. The County will be responsible for 85% of the final loan principal, interest and upfront lender generated costs while Matthews will pay 15% of the final loan principal, upfront generated costs and interest. The County will then pay its portion to Matthews 30 days after its next bond sale closes – anticipated to be September 2010 – but no longer  than 24 months from the date of the amended inter local agreement.

“We are looking forward to working with the Town to build Four Mile Creek Greenway. The trail will provide a way for residents to enjoy nature and spend time with friends and family while connecting to numerous destinations. We’re excited to be able to work with Matthews to find a way to keep the project moving forward and ultimately provide an amenity that will help Matthews achieve their vision of being a more walkable and bikeable community,” explained Mecklenburg County Greenway Planning Division Director Julie Clark.

“We are pleased that we are financially able to move forward with this important project. This is the first greenway for the Town of Matthews and we believe it will greatly enhance the quality of life for our residents. By having this unique financial arrangement with the County we can take advantage of the favorable construction climate and the low bid – ultimately saving taxpayer dollars,” commented Town Manager Hazen Blodgett.

Construction on the greenway is anticipated to begin this September and is expected to be completed within one year.