The Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved a start to construction for the Homestead Road greenway in their meeting Tuesday night.
The project was opposed by members of the Chapel Hill High School cross country team, but after town staff met with coaches and representatives from the school system, it appears the two sides are coming closer to a compromise.
Alderman Damon Seils said the town has multiple options in front of them, but still may need approval from UNC or the state, depending on which option it chooses.
“One of them is to continue the exploration around alternative materials where there are intersections or co-locations of the two paths ,” he said. “The other is this potential idea that could be explored with the help of some attorneys in the community around a shift in the alignment.”
Construction will begin on the initial stages of the path while the board waits to get more details about which path works best and the feasibility of alternative surfaces at the intersections of the cross country course and the greenway.
But as the aldermen moved closer towards resolution with the school district, other residents raised concerns over possible flooding that could occur once the path is built.
“This portion of Bolin Creek is very, and I say very, I cannot emphasize that more, to extreme flooding,” said Carlos Garcia-Vales, who owns a house near the trail and Bolin Creek. “I am very concerned that an impervious surface path along this steep bank will further lead to erosion, runoff and increased flooding.”
He said flooding has eroded parts of his property and caused trees near the creek to fall.
“In my mind these issues have already been studied well,” Seils said. “They’re part of the permitting process for a project like this. There are multiple layers of permitting and design and engineering that go into a project that deal with exactly the concerns (Garcia-Vales) is addressing.”
Town attorneys said there was no guarantee the board would get answers to questions about which path they would use or alternative surfaces before the aldermen go on break in July.
Board member Bethany Chaney said the aldermen need to prepare for the possibility of an emergency session at some point this summer.