$145,000 GRANT AWARDED TO MIDDLE FORK GREENWAY PROJECT!
Wendy Patoprsky gave a review of the current progress and the future of the Middle Fork Greenway Project, over which she is the Director. Governor Pat McCrory paid a visit to Blowing Rock last week and told Wendy the State of North Carolina has awarded a grant of $145,000 to build an 80 foot long bridge over the Middle Fork river that when constructed will provide the connection between Blowing Rock
The Middle Fork Greenway will preserve an expanse of green space along the headwaters of the New River that will protect the natural, scenic, and cultural resources of the corridor and provide a trail for walking and bicycling between Blowing Rock and Boone. The synergy of river, protective green space, and trail will yield an array of tangible and intangible benefits that enhance our community’s quality of life. This is the goal of the Middle Fork Greenway Association (MFGA), an all-volunteer organization formed in 2000 to promote the project and build the public support necessary to acquire land, easements, funds and permits to bring it to fruition.
The river: The Middle Fork rises in Blowing Rock and flows north to Boone, where, joined by the East Fork and Winkler’s Creek, it empties into the South Fork, which zigzags into northeastern Ashe County where it joins the North Fork and becomes the New River, which flows northward through Virginia and into West Virginia where it joins the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. Eventually waters from the New River basin drain into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The New River is one of the oldest river systems in the world, flowing through rocks that date to 1.1 billion years old. (Courtesy of their website www.middleforkgreenway.org).
According to Patoprsky, the 6.5 mile greenway will extend from the Tanger Shoppes area, back behind the water treatment plant, cross the bridge and run parallel to the river and 321 highway, around the Watauga Medical facility in Boone and finally connect to the existing Boone Greenway.
A question was asked: “How will Blowing Rock visitors and residences access the greenway?”. According to Patoprsky there will be signal lights installed to cross from sidewalks on both sides of highway 321, where pedestrians can connect to a gathering area near the Shoppes.
“Right now we have all the land acquisitions and right ways needed, said Patoprsky, and we have a Master Plan. What is needed now are funds to complete the construction. Right now, if we had all the necessary funds, it would still take 2 to 3 years to complete.”
New Member: Norm Wright
Norm Wright was inducted as a new member of our club. Norm is not new to Rotary. From 1987 to 1995 he was an active member of the Ft. Lauderdale club in Florida. He received an Appreciation plaque in 1993 and was Rotarian of the year in 1994. all eight years with that club he had perfect attendance. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he retired in 1988 after serving 20 years as a pilot with the Air Force and later a pilot with Eastern Airlines, finally moving to Blowing Rock. Norm and his wife of 58 years, Melinda, reside at 245 Virgils Lane in Blowing Rock. Welcome to our club Norm!
Did you know?
The Blowing Rock club was not always as organized as it is now. As an example, see the article above about Norm Wright and compare that to Virginia and Betty Howe’s experience. Betty, who had been President of the Lenoir club and won Best Large Club in the district, invited Virginia to join her as a guest at our club. Both were introduced as new members of the club! Neither Betty nor Virginia has ever given their new member talk. Editor Note: I think it’s about time they did so, don’t you?
Our club was organized on August 30th, 1946, with the permanent Charter granted on September 28, that same year. This means we are celebrating our 70th anniversary this month!
Rotary District Governor, Holt McPherson, presented the Charter on Friday, November 8, 1946 at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant Inaugural Dinner. W.B. (Bill) Austin, President of the sponsoring West Jefferson Rotary Club, was Master of Ceremonies that evening while the Charter was accepted by the Reverent Walter K. Keyes, President of the newly formed club. The first project was to work with the American Legion and initiate the Blowing Rock Memorial Park at Sunset and Main Street.