Town receives grant approval for recreational, safety needs: Bermuda Run also gets OK for two pedestrian pathways along U.S. 158, N.C. 801

Published 12:08 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

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BERMUDA RUN — With the addition of RISE Indoor Sports several years ago along with the continuing growth of Truist Sports Park and the town of Bermuda Run, all three parties realized the importance of improving recreational and safety needs for the bustling area overlooking the Yadkin River.

So late in 2022, a request was made by RISE and Truist Sports Park through former Sen. Richard Burr’s office to the town for a grant through Community Project Funding (CPF) awards for $3.6 million administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

And in last Tuesday night’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting, Andrew Meadwell, town manager, revealed that he had finally received approval last week of the HUD grant administered by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.

“It is proposed to address RISE, Truist Sports Park and the town of Bermuda Run in supporting a walkable/bikeable community, enhancing health and wellness,” Meadwell said, “and as an outreach to underserved communities, accessibility, safety and sports tourism.”

He outlined the key elements of the project, which include:

  • Widening of Twins Way (3 lanes) to include turning land and speed tables, road painting and traffic markings
  • Paved trail from the Bert Bahnson Pedestrian Bridge to RISE
  • Lighting along Twins Way
  • Blue Heron Trailhead access at Twins Way with paved parking
  • Traffic and wayfinding signage
  • Automated gate and access control
  • Update existing playground

It has certainly has been a lengthy process going back to the town making the application in December 2022 and signing the agreement in June 2023 before receiving the final executed agreement last week.

Meadwell noted previously that the town would be acting as a “pass through” for this agreement after representatives from RISE and Truist Sports Park asked Burr’s office to consider and support improvements to help address life safety issues with only one single access point and 50 percent of the property residing in the Yadkin River Basin flood plain.

Traffic and safety in the area has been a growing concern in the area with the sprawling Truist Sports Park and N.C. Fusion — with new artificial turf fields added several years ago — and the opening of the RISE facility, a massive 123,000-square-foot, multi-sports complex that came along in May 2021.

Also in last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council learned that the Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) unanimously approved two projects for the town funded through the Surface Transportation Block Grant for a new sidewalk from the U.S. 158/N.C. 801 intersection along N.C. 801 to Davie Medical Center and an extension of the Blue Heron Trail (near Steelman’s Ace Hardware) west along U.S. 158 to N.C. 801.

Mayor Mike Brannon said that these two pedestrian pathways add to the town’s collective vision for making Bermuda Run a more walkable community.

“Again, this is part of your survey feedback that asked us to ‘…connect neighborhoods to commercial centers, open spaces and recreational amenities,’ ” Brannon said.

The N.C. 801 sidewalk project falls under the category of 2024 Bicycle & Pedestrian Projects with a total project cost of $1,072,500 and a breakdown of $858,000 (80 percent federal request) and $214,500 (20 percent local match).

The extension of the path along U.S. 158 west to N.C. 801 falls under the category of Blue Heron Trail Phase III with a total project cost of $1,045,000 and a breakdown of $836,000 (80 percent federal request) and $209,000 (20 percent local match).

In another business item, the council unanimously approved the fiscal year 2024-25 budget recommended by the town manager, which was balanced for the General Fund at $2,643,500, balanced for the Gate Operations Fund at $700,099 and balanced for the Utilities Fund at $791,700.

A public hearing was held prior to the action with no citizens choosing to speak.

In other highlights from last Tuesday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Heard from Meadwell, who said that NCDOT was contacted to clarify it is responsible for the maintenance/mowing at the I-40/N.C. 801 interchange.
  • Heard a presentation from Duke Energy representatives with Rob Swaim, engineer, and Joe Crapster, community relations manager, providing an overview of the functions, services, responsibilities and improvements of the company. It was pointed out that all rates are regulated by the N.C. Utilities Commission,
  • Heard a presentation from Adam Howard, assistant chief of the Smith Grove Fire & Rescue, who gave an overview of fire, medical and rescue services — with a service area of approximately 23 square miles — provided to the community.
  • Heard from Brannon, who wanted to remind residents that reflective address signs can be purchased at the Smith Grove Fire Department for $15.
  • Heard from council member Melinda Szelida, who recognized Cindy Poe, who is the town clerk, for her 14-year work anniversary with the town.