augusta free press news

Waynesboro: Greenway green light?

Story by Chris Graham

Now the only thing that may be standing in the way of getting the first portion of the South River Greenway project moving forward is the money.

“Depending on how council wanted to pursue the construction of the greenway, we might have all of the money available. If we got something … unexpected … with respect to, if we bid it for outside work, then it would perhaps be not the most prudent thing for me to tell you that I can assure you we have all the money. But we are making significant progress to pursuing the project,” interim Waynesboro city manager Mike Hamp said tonight as city leaders discussed a big step forward in the work on the project, which dates back to planning work begun in the late 1990s.

It appears that Invista and DuPont have agreed to sign off on the easements needed by the city extend the proposed greenway from the downtown portion of the South River between Broad Street and Main Street to the bridge over the river at the intersection of South Wayne Avenue and Arch Avenue in the vicinity of the Waynesboro YMCA. Waynesboro City Council voted unanimously tonight to authorize Hamp and Mayor Tim Williams to sign the easement agreements on behalf of the city in a move that came after a series of recent closed-session discussions of negotiations with Invista and DuPont on the greenway project.

The greenway system as envisioned in the earlier work on the project would eventually provide pedestrian and bicyclist access to a five-mile stretch of the river essentially spanning the run of the South River through Waynesboro. Construction work on the project has been delayed for several years by the bogged-down negotiations with Invista and DuPont over access to its properties located along the greenway path adjacent to the Downtown Waynesboro greenway hub.

“From a manager’s standpoint, this certainly concludes all of the negotiations and permissions that we need from other landholders,” Hamp said tonight. “There may be a permit looming out there that we’re not yet aware of or have not made an application for, but this concludes the significant work that needed to be done in obtaining the agreement from other property owners,” Hamp said.