02 Jul Higgins Greenway connects to downtown Cary, protects historic cemetery
Higgins Greenway connects several of central Cary’s older neighborhoods to the natural environment around a tributary of Swift Creek. WithersRavenel is leading Phase III of the Higgins Greenway development to extend the trail north and east to Kildaire Farm Road. The roughly one-mile-long segment will link the greenway to parts of downtown Cary, which are undergoing their own redevelopment.
WithersRavenel is providing comprehensive planning, design, and public engagement services for the project. This includes surveying, easement mapping, utility coordination, design, cost estimating, and public information sessions.
The new greenway segment will pick up where the old segment stops at Union Street. It will travel through the Russell Hills neighborhood, crossing two church properties before ending near Cary Elementary School and Kay Struffolino Park. Users will be able to access downtown Cary destinations such as the Cary Arts Center and Cary Downtown Park via sidewalks.
One of the biggest challenges on the project is the location of the historic Hillcrest Cemetery. The new greenway must cross the cemetery property in order to connect with downtown Cary. It was therefore important to be respectful of the cultural significance of the site while developing a design.
WithersRavenel explored opportunities to add architectural features or public art to the greenway. These additions will focus detailing the historic significance of the cemetery and telling stories about the region. WithersRavenel worked closely with the Town’s Historical Preservation Commission throughout this process. The Commission verified that no planned elements will prevent the cemetery from being considered for landmark status.
WithersRavenel is also assisting the Town with public information sessions, including providing graphics and staffing at meetings, to build support around this connectivity project.
Construction will begin in 2021.