Community members came out in full force to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night to express their opposition to a paved greenway the town is planning near Chapel Hill High School.
Members of the Chapel Hill High cross county team were concerned about the effect the path would have on their training because the path intersects their course at three different locations .
“As a team we’ve run on enough pavement,” runner Lizzie Mabe said. “We have been trying for many years to get a rubber track to replace our old asphalt one. The irony here is clear. The very year we get to escape the pavement on our track, our cross country course and primary training loop could be destroyed by concrete.”
The project dates back to 2003 and a contract has been awarded to lay the pavement.
The trail in its entirety would run nearly 2,100 feet, with parts running parallel to Bolin Creek and near a tennis court used by Smith Middle School.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education chairman James Barrett said there were safety concerns with having the pavement intersect the course.
“Practice happens every day on this,” he said. “We’ve got runners coming out of the woods and going across the path. If there’s bikers going quickly on the pavement there that’s a concern.”
Carrboro mayor Lydia Lavelle said the Board of Aldermen was unaware the project would cross over the cross country course a total of three times until last week when the school was notified construction would soon begin.
“Our staff has been scouring and going over and reviewing all of the immense paperwork and time and energy and effort that’s gone in to putting together this section of our greenway system,” Lavelle said. “And try to figure out the precise problem there and find out if we can mitigate it or not.”
Construction is scheduled to begin May 16. Lavelle said for the time being the town is not going to delay construction, but that is still a possibility.
She said she has received alternatives from the cross county coaching staff and the town is trying to figure out what to do next.
“Part of what we’re doing is trying to sort out all of the legalese of it,” Lavelle said. “It’s really far along in the process and it’s really complicated in a way that we don’t really even understand yet, but we hope to get the information by Tuesday.”
The aldermen will meet again Tuesday and will get an update on project.