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Residents Association Forms Steele Creek Community Trail Committee

(June 3, 2004) A group of residents has been meeting since last summer to promote the creation of a trail system throughout Steele Creek. That group formally was established as the Steele Creek Community Trail Committee of the Steele Creek Residents Association last month.

The group envisions a system of 50 miles of trails that will connect neighborhoods, parks, shopping, and employment centers within Steele Creek. The development of a trail system will take years, but the community must become proactive now and have plans in place while potential trail routes are still available. Although much of Steele Creek is undeveloped, this is changing rapidly as more and more residential and other development is occurring and the amount of open space and other vacant land is decreasing.

Factors related to potential trail routes include the following:

  • Greenway trails. The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department has developed a Master Greenway Plan that identifies routes for future greenways along stream corridors throughout the county. Two greenways on the master plan follow Steele Creek from Brown-Grier Road south to the South Carolina state line and Walkers Branch from Steele Creek Road south to Steele Creek near the South Carolina state line. The Committee plans to focus on these routes because they already have been approved on the Master Greenway Plan, some land along the route already is owned by the county, and various groups have endorsed the plan. As land is developed along these stream corridors, the committee will work with the developers to ensure land is set aside for greenway trails.
  • Bikeways along roadways. Committee members have met with both Charlotte Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Department of Transportation officials about trails and bike lanes along roadways. Standard sidewalks generally are  unsuitable for bicycles. Ten-foot wide asphalt trails are preferable but do not meet city standards.  The committee hopes that future roadway improvements will incorporate bicycle-friendly facilities in their plans. Possibilities include bicycle lanes and tunnels or bridges across roadways.
  • Utility easements. Trails could follow easements along sewer lines and power lines. The committee plans to contact utility companies concerning the possible use of their easements for trails.
  • Major developments. Three major new residential developments in Steele Creek, Berewick, The Palisades, and The Sanctuary, will have trail systems within them. The committee has contacted all three about developing connectivity between those trails and other potential trails within the community.
  • Neighborhood associations. Trails will run through and near many Steele Creek neighborhoods. Participation by homeowners associations and other neighborhood groups will help the overall trail effort. Neighborhood groups may even adopt a segment of trail to build or maintain.
  • South Carolina trails. An extensive trail system is being developed in the Tega Cay, Fort Mill, and Rock Hill areas of York County, South Carolina. If community trails in Steele Creek connect to those, a powerful trail network would be available to users from both sides of the state line. The mayor and town manager of Tega Cay have endorsed the Steele Creek Community Trail concept.
  • Other parkland. Community trails could connect to those in McDowell Nature Preserve, although bicycles would not be allowed on trails within the preserve itself. Community trails also could connect to trails within Thomas McCallister Winget Park,  the new district park on the north side of Berewick, and other county park facilities.

The development of a trail system will involve numerous public and private agencies and organizations. The Committee is developing variety of contacts to encourage participation and endorsement in the creation of a trail system in Steele Creek.

The Committee is developing a map showing all potential trail routes as well the neighborhoods, commercial centers, parks, and other facilities that the trail system will connect. A next step will be to work to ensure that land along these routes is dedicated or otherwise reserved for trail development.

If you would like to help or learn more about the Committee, please contact them at CommunityTrail@SteeleCreekResidents.org or visit their web site at www.SteeleCreekTrail.org. The Community Trail System will be a legacy for the children of Steele Creek. Consider participating in this important community effort.