By Nancy Lindsey
Work has started on Phase 2 of the Mayo River Rail Trail project, which takes the trail from Commerce Street to the end of the Landmark Assisted Living Center building, according to Joseph Quesenberry, tourism and marketing director.
This extension, called leg A, is one of three sections that comprise Phase 2, Quesenberry said. The other two legs are leg B, which will go from Commerce Street to the parking lot at the existing facility, and leg C, which will run from the parking lot along the Mayo River and flood control channel.
Quesenberry said all three legs in Phase 2 are expected to be completed by October, and a ribbon-cutting will probably be held at that time.
When Phase 2 is completed, it will consist of 4,200 linear feet, or about three-quarters of a mile, Quesenberry said.
The total cost of the second phase is $313,000, he said. It is being funded by a federal Transportation Enhancement Grant which is administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
The grant is 80% federal and 20% local. However, Quesenberry said, no Patrick County tax dollars will be spent on the project.
The 20% is coming from donations of easements by EMI, the Landmark Center and Blue Ridge Therapy Connection, and other “in-kind” contributions such as legal advice from the county attorney, donations of porta-johns, landscaping, and volunteer labor, Quesenberry said.
The original Mayo River Rail Trail was designed to follow the tracks of the Danville and Western Railroad (aka the Dick and Willie Railroad) which came to Stuart before the turn of the 20th century and lasted until the 1940s.
The town of Stuart is considering buying a train caboose to use as a visitor center, which would help carry out the railroad theme.
The trail runs from the current parking lot to the parking lot in downtown Stuart across the river from the United Elastic Corporation, and is used for biking and walking.
By Nancy Lindsey
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