Old Lenoir Road is about to get a makeover, thanks to an $8.48 million grant from the Greater Hickory Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). At its May 7 meeting, Hickory City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the NCDOT to receive the federal funds to construct a multiuse trail and make streetscape improvements along Old Lenoir Road.
The Old Lenoir Road multiuse trail is part of a much larger multiuse path system being developed by the City of Hickory under the Crafting Hickory initiative and $40 million bond referendum passed by Hickory voters. The Old Lenoir Road multiuse trail will create a connection between City Walk, via the Ninth Street NW and 11th Street NW connectors, and Riverwalk.
The final component of the City Walk project was put out for bid on May 2. The City Walk multiuse path will run along Main Avenue, starting at Seventh Avenue NE (in front of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church) and traveling through Downtown Hickory to Ninth Street NW (in front of Deluxe Printing Group and Aiken-Black Tire Service).
In December 2018, the City started relocating utilities and waterlines in preparation for the main City Walk pathway. These relocations and infrastructure improvements along Main Avenue NW/NE have been completed.
Renovations to Union Square and the downtown block, a planned component of the City Walk project, started on April 8 and are currently progressing on schedule.
To celebrate the project and its progress, the Hickory Downtown Development Association, in partnership with the City of Hickory, Hickory Soup Kitchen, Olde Hickory Brewery, and the Hickory Crawdads will present the City Walk Summer Celebration in Downtown Hickory on Saturday, June 1, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free community event will feature live music, barbecue, a beer garden, bourbon tasting with local distilleries, Fast Pitch with the Hickory Crawdads, and a local celebrity emcee. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Hickory Soup Kitchen and Hickory Downtown Development Association.
The Book Walk schematic plans and route were approved by a small stakeholder group, the Bond Commission, and then by Hickory City Council as the final approval in April.
First identified as a project in the City’s Inspiring Spaces Plan, the Book Walk will be a multiuse pathway providing pedestrian and bicycle connectivity from the City Walk in Downtown Hickory, through the Ridgeview community, to U.S. 70. The path will travel from the City Walk down South Center Street, west across City-owned property at the historic Ridgeview Library, and south on First Street SW to the current Ridgeview Branch Library. The path will then go west on Seventh Avenue SW past the current Ridgeview Branch Library and Ridgeview Recreation Center, before turning south and following Fourth Street SW to U.S. 70 at the WalMart Neighborhood Market.
The addition of the Book Walk brings the total miles of the trail system from 5.2 miles, up to 6.4 miles.
The City expects all major bond projects to be under construction by the end of 2020.