Much of the trail will run alongside an unused railroad track that runs through the heart of the research park. The completion of the entire trail could be a couple years away, but the route is basically set and some advance preparation has taken place. The contract for building the first segment of the trail – from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Third Street – will be awarded next year. Much of the new trail will run alongside an unused railroad track that runs through the heart of the research park. Future construction will carry the trail south along the new Research Parkway, and on past Rams (Stadium) Drive to Salem Creek Greenway. Alongside part of Research Parkway there is a stretch of widened sidewalk that will be part of the new trail.
Most rail trails are built on the path of an abandoned rail line, but this one is different: It will run beside the existing track because of a requirement that the track be kept in case it is once more needed for trains. Local transportation officials have said it is very unlikely the rail line will ever be used again. The unused track is disconnected at each end from any rail line still in use. The northern end of the new walking and cycling trail would start on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in between Linden Street and Ivy Avenue. It would pass south and cross Seventh Street, then continue south behind the tobacco building being renovated for Inmar Inc. The design, lease arrangements and other aspects of the rail trail have been going on for a couple years, with that part of the project going to contract in the early part of 2014.
The first segment of the project running from Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Third Street has been priced at around $5.5 Million. Much of the money will come from federal and state sources. The City & WFIQ will contribute $400,000 each towards the cost as well. The trail will have lighting, benches, trash & recycling can, bike racks, drinking fountains, security telephones & cameras along with Wi-Fi..