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What you need to know about: The Greenville Greenway


* The Greenville Greenway is a "linear park" of paved trails that allows people to enjoy nature while they walk, jog or bike.

* Greenville has more than 5 miles of Greenway. Additional sections are in the process of being cleared and paved.

* The Greenway winds along the Tar River, rambles through the Town Common on First Street, cuts through neighborhoods and weaves through city parks.

* Along the way, Greenway users will cross the old Greene Street Bridge, pass over wetlands on wooden walkways, traverse open fields, travel under pines and hardwood trees draped with Spanish moss, and go by East Carolina University's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

* The route connects the Town Common, Green Springs Park and Elm Street Park; parking is available at all three locations.

* The Greenway is about 10 feet wide, so there's enough space for two-way traffic.

* There are many entrances along the Greenway, so users don't have to enter from one of the parks. Residents can hop on the Greenway at the marked entrance in their neighborhood and head in either direction.

* The Greenway forks at some spots along the trail to allow access to stops along the way. The trail is marked with directional signs so you can either continue straight down the Greenway or take a detour to a fishing platform on the Tar River, a scenic overlook or the East Carolina University campus.

* Some parts of the Greenway are connected by city streets. Directions to continue along the route are marked by green frogs on the pavement.

* There are benches, picnic tables, water fountains, trash receptacles and shelters dotted along the route.

* Friends of Greenville Greenway (FROGGS) has installed informational plaques that add to the experience by explaining natural features.

* Some of the trees are labeled with attached markers that identify them.

* Wild animals, including deer, are often spotted, along with native birds.

* One particularly scenic spot on the Greenway is Lookout Point, with its view of the Tar River. There's a picnic table at the site, so it's a great place to stop for an outdoor meal.

* Another interesting stop along the way is the Elm Street Lawn Games Area. It's in the hollow across the road from Elm Street Park's Little League Baseball field. There open space has horseshoe pits, bocce courts and shuffleboard.

* Dogs on leashes are welcome, and there's even a dog park accessed by the Greenway.

* Citizens suggested the creation of the Greenville Greenway. At a 1985 Greenville City Council meeting, residents requested the development of a greenway "to facilitate bicycle traffic between student apartments and campus, to provide a space for outdoor exercise and to preserve forest habitat in the city," according to the FROGGS website.

* The Greenville Greenway was designed by Greenways Inc., the leading greenway planning firm in the country.

* The newest feature on the Greenway is a Shade Garden with mulched pathways and flowering native plants created by FROGGS near the Off-Leash Dog Park. A shelter pavillion also was constructed there.

* The next project for FROGGS is the creation of a kayak launch on the Tar River at the base of the Shade Garden.

* There is no fee to use the Greenville Greenway.

* The Greenway is open year round, from sunrise to sunset.

* Printable maps are available from FROGGS.

* At a 1985 Greenville City Council meeting, residents requested the development of a greenway "to facilitate bicycle traffic between student apartments and campus, to provide a space for outdoor exercise and to preserve forest habitat in the city," according to the FROGGS website.

* The Greenville Greenway was designed by Greenways Inc. of Durham, the leading greenway planning firm in the country.

Jane Welborn Hudson, a native of Greenville, is a former staff writer for The Daily Reflector, where she was editor of Her... magazine and Greenville: Life in the East and several other niche publications. Email her atjane@beetheremedia.com.

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