Help Browne’s Ferry get greenway access

Missing Link

The county has been slowly collecting land along the Clark’s Creek tributary to build its expansion of the existing greenway. However Browne’s Ferry owns a quarry that is the “missing link” that prevents the county from continuing with its plans.

The biggest hurdle the county faces in greenway expansion is land acquisition. Rather than spend its limited budget on buying land, the county prioritizes projects with land ready. Once the land is available, the county can “score” a project much higher, meaning it will be more likely to be funded.

The county’s Master Greenway Plan includes extending the greenway westward to the nature preserve and 115, eventually connecting to a larger regional network. Without the funding to buy the land at market value, the county relies heavily on donations — both of the land ownership and easements.

What Can We Do?

Community leaders have been working with county parks officials for years to come up with a plan that will benefit all involved. The solution? Browne’s Ferry needs to donate an easement of common area land that will allow the county to build and maintain a greenway extension over it.

Why Should I Approve the Easement?

Greenway access will mean a viable cycling and pedestrian route from our community park all the way to UNCC and beyond, including the light rail terminal into uptown.

Greenways are considered a highly valued amenity, and can raise property values for nearby single-family homes.

Greenways are essentially a linear park, giving people the benefit of nature without traveling far from their homes.

What’s Next?

The land needed is a Browne’s Ferry common area, which means it belongs to the HOA and is “owned” by all HOA members. Our covenants require 2/3 of all members approve any easements of common area that are not for utility use. We have 210 homes in our HOA, so at least 140 would need to approve this easement for it to move forward.

The county drafted an easement donation form that Browne’s Ferry HOA members will need to complete in order for the easement to be granted.

What’s Included?

The map above shows a rough approximation of the land the county wishes to receive easement access to. This includes the watershed area around the creek (it does not include the quarry or the access point on Brownes Creek Road). This is where the greenway would be built in the future.

It also includes a small area at the base of the Browne’s Ferry Road cul de sac in order to build an ADA-compliant sidewalk access to the greenway trail. This area does not include any of Browne’s Ferry Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Parking?
See the Trail Map

Neighborhood access points are not official parking areas. Because the Browne’s Ferry Park parking area is private property (and also chained), visitors would not be allowed to park their cars to access the greenway. In other neighborhoods with similar access points, there was minimal disruption to their street. Official parking areas are marked as such on trail maps.

Safety?

A 2004 UNCC study found that greenways do not increase crime, and, in some instances, crime is slightly reduced. Greenway trails have fewer issues than any other Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation amenity.

Home Value?

A study published in a peer-reviewed journal examined the impact greenway access has on single-family home values in Mecklenburg County. The study concluded that homes within 1 mile of a greenway access point saw property values rise by $3,000.

This would be a community amenity that we didn’t have to pay for, we don’t have to maintain and we can include in amenities when selling our homes.

Cost?

Because it will be an easement, the HOA will still own the land. The HOA is a non-profit corporation, so we do not pay property taxes on common area land. The easement will grant Mecklenburg County the power to improve and maintain the easement areas at no cost to us.

Download a Consent Form

Browne’s Ferry wins two grants for community enhancement

Browne’s Ferry was awarded two grants from Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services. The first funds the installation of three trash receptacles at Browne’s Ferry Park. One trash receptacle will be placed at the multi-sport court, and another will be placed along the sidewalk and crepe myrtles. The third trash receptacle is a pet waste station, and will include dog waste pickup bags.

The second grant encourages community interaction, and will fully fund our National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The event will feature Smokin’ Butts BBQ plates for the first 50 people, Rita’s Italian Ice, fun and games.

Have an idea for a grant?

Browne’s Ferry currently hold a $1,500 grant credit for attending a city-hosted workshop last year and it will expire this summer if we don’t use it.

What should we apply for? We’ve won a Keep Charlotte Beautiful grant to help fund the entrance renovation, and we’ve won grants for two years to fund tree banding. Other communities have won grants to install park benches, street name sign toppers, host first-time events, etc.

This link gives ideas for types of projects we can apply for funding. Here are the “rules,” according to the city:

  • Our community is eligible for up to $10,000.
  • We contribute volunteer hours (worth approximately $20 per hour per person) and the city matches that by footing the actual costs. The grant credit would be the equivalent of ~75 volunteer hours.
  • Our community isn’t eligible to apply for private property enhancements, or replacement of existing amenities.

The grant application is due March 1, so share your grant application ideas by mid-February. We’ll get board go-ahead and start researching the pieces needed for the application.

Share your ideas

Hucks Road Community Park slated to open in spring 2018

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation plans to start work on the new Hucks Road Community Park sometime in the winter of 2016, with plans to open the park to the public in spring 2018.

hucks-road-master-planThe park, which is located west of Croft Community School and across the street from the Clarks Creek Nature Preserve, includes plans for a 1-acre small dog park and a 1.5 acre large dog park with watering stations; a medium shelter with public art installation; two small shelters; a 4,000-square-foot sprayground, restrooms, 8 fenced pickle ball courts, an unfenced basketball court, meadows, skate park, play area with oodle swings, rope structure and balance/motion pieces and community gardens.

A community input meeting was held on Feb. 24 to discuss park amenities and options.

Download PDFs of the park master plan and site rendering of the central sprayground and shelters below:

Hucks Road Park Conceptual Master Plan (PDF)

Spray and Playground Rendering (PDF)

Greenway update: County considers right-of-way access

HOA President Jessica Norman met in late March with Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation officials who prioritize greenway projects.
Greenway officials told Norman that greenway projects are scored based primarily on land availability, and that the only parcel preventing the extension along the Clark’s Creek Tributary was the common area land parcel immediately behind Browne’s Ferry Park.
Norman discussed the possibility of granting right-of-way access to the county to build and maintain the greenway along the creekbed area (not the quarry), while the HOA retains ownership. Parks officials seemed quite amenable. They will develop a proposal that would eventually go to homeowners for a vote. No timeline was given, but funded greenway projects stretch years into the future.
In order to grant right-of-way access of common area, 2/3 of homes (140 of 210) would have to approve.

Time to remove tree bands

Tree bands were installed last fall to catch cankerworm moths. These bands need to be removed in March. To remove the bands, use scissors to cut through the green band. You can then unwrap the white fiber pad and throw away the materials. The sticky substance on the traps can gum up scissors, but Goo Gone works well to clean scissor blades.

If you need assistance removing tree bands, please email brownesferryhoa@gmail.com.

In order to maintain our community’s grant status with the city, we will need to report volunteer hours spent removing the bands. If you’d like to report on approximately how many wingless moths you caught, it is like extra credit!