By Peggy Mackenzie
Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester was at the Dec. 23 Greenbrier County Commission meeting to discuss funding for the L&R Trail project with the commissioners. The West Virginia Department of Highways recently secured leftover monies in the amount of $125,000, provided there is a 20 percent match of $31,250, as reported following the Lewisburg council meeting on Dec. 16. The mayor requested that the county provide the 20 percent funding to extend the trail into the unincorporated area of Fairlea between Lewisburg and Ronceverte. Manchester admitted that although Lewisburg also receives occupancy tax revenue from hotels and motels within the city limits, he said he did not know if the Lewisburg City Council would vote to spend funds on a project that is outside the municipal boundaries. With these funds, it is projected to extend the trail to Kmart, giving pedestrians access to the shopping mall.
As reported in The Register-Herald, the mayor noted, “There are a lot of people who do not have cars.” Sidewalks encourage people to walk and enable pedestrians to be safe from vehicular traffic, especially in areas where there might not ordinarily be a sidewalk.
The L&R Trail, begun in 2010, is a walkway which, when completed, will connect Lewisburg to Ronceverte in the path of the old Lewisburg and Ronceverte railroad track. On the Lewisburg end, the first phase has been completed, beginning on south Court Street at the trailhead structure by the Old Stone cemetery through the Graham Addition to Hwy. 219 at Frazier Street.
The commissioners approved the motion to match the DOH’s found funds. The funding for the match will come from the county’s arts and rec account, now flush with the recouped monies received from the New River College Foundation.