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Saturday December 3rd

Long-anticipated Riverwalk opens along Eno River in Hillsborough

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Pedestrians and cyclists can now enjoy a new 1.8-mile paved trail that runs along the Eno River — a long-anticipated project called Riverwalk.

Stephanie Trueblood, a city planner with the Hillsborough Planning Department, said the trail is already seeing a fair amount of traffic.

CELEBRATE RIVERWALK

Time: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 11

Location: 228 S. Churton St.

More info: http://bit.ly/1q7BAhF

“We have our final inspection this week,” Trueblood said. “People are really happy and pleased, and the trail is getting a lot of use. People seem to really be enjoying this new resource.”

The town will celebrate the opening of the new trail Saturday and will hold activities, such as puppet making, bike decorating, a scavenger hunt and live music by local groups, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Local businesses and nonprofit organizations will have booths at the event. 

Trueblood said the opening of the trail has been in the works for several years.

“The Riverwalk Greenway project has been under construction in one way or another for over 15 years,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for the people who have been involved for so long to get together and celebrate."

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said the creation of Riverwalk is a huge moment for the town.

“Riverwalk is perhaps one of the biggest things that has happened to Hillsborough in 50 years," he said. “It’s going to have an enormous impact on the quality of life here in Hillsborough.”

Sarah DeGennaro, executive director at the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, said the trail highlights the area's natural landscape.

“The river is one of the most wonderful features of Hillsborough,” DeGennaro said.

Trueblood said the trail could be used for a broad range of activities.

“We have schools using it as an outdoor class space,” Trueblood said.

Stevens said the trail is already promoting healthy activities among residents.

“County employees here have a Monday walking group because it’s so easy and pleasant to use the trail," he said. "It’s right beside their offices.”

Hillsborough recently hosted the first conference for the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The Riverwalk is one of many links in the trail, which runs from the Outer Banks to the Great Smoky Mountains, but one of the only parts that runs through an urban area.

“The Mountains-to-Sea Trail really links together a lot of the gems of North Carolina," Stevens said. "One of the crown jewels is Hillsborough."

Trueblood said the purpose of the Riverwalk trail is to get people outside together.

“The river is what brings life into the community of Hillsborough, and so we want to open the river back up to the heart and the center of the community and to get people reconnected to a sense of place," Trueblood said.

DeGennaro said students are encouraged to come and utilize the new trail.

“There’s not another trail like this in Orange County," he said. "Any students who are interested in being outside, hiking, biking, should come out. You’re not going to find a river trail like this in Chapel Hill.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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