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Public support for the development of greenway trails continues to grow. Bond projects approved by the voters in 2008 are moving into design and development as the local economy continues to improve. In spring of 2014, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation hosted a series of public meetings to gain public input on the master planning process. Greenways and trails were a major topic of discussion at these meetings. A community survey conducted by ETC Leisure Vision found that the development of walking and biking trails was an important and unmet need for the majority of Mecklenburg County residents. Based on the survey, greenway trails (particularly within natural areas) were an expectation of residents. This finding is consistent with the 2008 survey of Mecklenburg County residents and another study in urban Indianapolis, IN, which indicated that greenways in natural areas were used more. Public desire and support of an interconnected greenway and trail system that provides opportunity to reach destinations and achieve health and fitness is also evident.
From a list of 30 park and recreation facilities, the top five public requests were:
Survey results indicate County residents understand and support the role of greenways as both corridors for environmental protection and potential trail development.
The result generated by the Mecklenburg County survey supports trends experienced throughout the southeast and the nation. The results of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for North Carolina closely mimic Mecklenburg County survey results and provide a strong rationale for natural resource conservation and the development of a strong trail system. According to the SCORP, the most popular outdoor activities for NC residents are:
(Source: Comprehensive Park & Recreation Master Plan Update, Final Report April 2015; Chapter 5, page 64)