Mayor unveils Rail-Trail plan for central Salisbury

This architect’s rendition shows how the Salisbury City Park will be connected to the Downtown Riverwalk vis a bridge that passes under South Salisbury Boulevard. The connector has been a dream on planners’ books for more than 30 years.

Standing in what he called “a forgotten area of our city,” at Union Station on Railroad Avenue, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day announced a 5-mile Salisbury Rail-Trail, a biking and walking path from Fruitland north to the Maryland border being built in Salisbury.

“We have a community that wants this trail. We have a plan for how to get there. We’ve got the right partnerships in place,” said Day, standing in front of the former rail station, now owned by Evolution Craft Brewing Co. on Vine Street.

Gov. Larry Hogan approved a $722,000 grant to begin constructing of a portion of the trail and build a raised boardwalk under the Salisbury Bypass.

“This is going to be an incredible trail … with diverse sections along the way,” Day said.

Salisbury University has plans to build a portion along the university, he said, congratulating the institution “for your leadership.”

He chose the Railroad Avenue location for the news conference, he said, “Because it is exactly the mid-point on a thoroughfare in which there will be the next big step in making our town healthier, more walkable and more bikeable,” he told an upbeat audience that included members of the Salisbury City Council and Eastern Shore delegation.

The Boardwalk section, he said, is at Scenic Drive, where the right-of-way is paved and in a wooded area. Now, it’s gated off to traffic but will become the bed of the trail and wander north to the Bypass. The boardwalk, built with state funds, will go under the Bypass and continue north to Naylor Mill Road.

Construction on the northern segment of the trail will being within the next year and should be finished by the end of next year.

Day said Salisbury residents have told him they want to be able to get around town without a car, prompting the bike trail.

He credited the city’s Department of Infrastructure and Development, under the direction of Amanda Pollack, and her team “for the incredible design of a rail trail through our city.”

“This will not eliminate our railroad. This will bring to Salisbury five miles of a walkable, bikeable, runnable path protected from street traffic from the southern limits in Fruitland to the northern limits of Delmar,” he said.

Day touted city achievements and progress and said city leaders have heard from people saying they want to be able to get around town without a car.

He said he hopes the Rail Station, an historic building will be preserved.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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