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Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 10:50am.

BURGAW, NC (NEWS RELEASE) –- Pender County has been awarded $72,404 from the State of North Carolina Recreational Trails Program to develop the first segment of the West Pender Rail-Trail. The grant was prepared through the County’s Department of Planning and Community Development, and will fund the development of 1.11 miles of a crushed stone surfaced trail from Vitamin Drive to the northern boundary of the Pender Commerce Park on US Highway 421, near the Pender–New Hanover County boundary. The trail will be 8 to 10’ wide, and suitable for bicycling, walking and jogging. This portion of the trail will be the first segment of a larger bicycle and pedestrian network planned to link the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial in Wilmington to the Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie. The rail-trail project in Pender County will utilize the former Seaboard Coastline Railroad corridor where possible, and may potentially span all the way to Fayetteville, connecting communities and providing a destination for tourism and outdoor recreation in the region. This first trail segment will serve as a catalyst for future trail development in the western part of the county, and county leaders feel the trail will serve as an additional amenity for attracting new business, industrial and residential growth. Trail development will utilize volunteer work where possible with help from the West Pender Rail-Trail Alliance, a non-profit group formed to advocate bicycle and pedestrian trail development in western Pender County.

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