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Ribbon Cutting for Cross-City Trail

Cross-City Trail

Innovation and Cooperative Partnership with
the City of Wilmington

The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is a 20-mile bicycle and pedestrian network that connects parks, education, shopping and other amenities across the City.  The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail was conceived and shepherded by Wilmington Department of Community Services, Parks and Recreation and its namesake, Gary Shell, who started development with the passing of the 2006 Parks and Greenspace Bond.   The Cross-City Trail connects the southern part of the county, beginning at James E.L. Wade Park, to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at Wrightsville Beach. 

Phases I and II pass through Halyburton Park, Cameron Art Museum, Independence Boulevard, and the Althea Gibson Tennis Center at Empie Park. 

Phase IIIA was designed to construct a 10'-wide multi-use path from UNCW’s entrance at South College Road and Randall Parkway to Mallard Street at Hooker Road.  Phase IIIA was allocated $1,500,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for construction.  Design and permitting were funded by the City of Wilmington.  A connecting phase to Eastwood Road is in the works, giving students, faculty and staff an alternate transportation route to the beach. 

While the trail connects parks, the beach and other amenities, it is also a source for daily recreation and exercise.  As such, the UNCW portion of the trail, approximately 2.9 miles long is already seeing lots of activity.  There are future program plans by Health and Applied Human Sciences (HAHS), and we may see campus recreation events take hold as well. 

The trail is intended for pedestrians, bicycles and wheelchairs.  Other non-motorized means of mobility such as scooters and skateboards are expected.  However, golf carts and motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited.  Please note the Rules and Etiquette and abide by them so that all users can have a safe, enjoyable experience. 

When completed, the portion of the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail on the UNCW campus will be maintained by the UNCW Office of Facilities and patrolled by UNCW Police.  Work has been underway to prepare the trail for completion. Final touches on crosswalks and signage are being implemented now.  A team of UNCW professionals in Facilities, including Grounds, Environmental Health & Safety, Police, and Athletics pored over the details of the trail design; and Facilities staff helped oversee the implementation.  Faculty Senate Buildings and Grounds, Campus Recreation and HAHS will have input as programming details are developed.

The trail will be a real asset to the health and wellness of our community.  It is also a physical manifestation of a community development project and great partnership with the City of Wilmington.  We hope you enjoy this new addition to the main campus of UNCW.   As always, stay safe!


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