LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) – Final restoration for the Depot Creek Greenway in Lucedale is in sight after three years of closures.
Land Trust of Mississippi Coastal Plains owns the property and has secured about $190,000 through state and federal grants and private donations to rebuild the quarter-mile long boardwalk and restore the trail. A contractor has been hired and is supposed to begin work in January 2023.
Enviva has been working since March to help remove the rotting boards from the existing boardwalk and clear the trail. Employees from the Lucedale pellet plant and the company’s sustainability team continued work in the area Friday, Oct. 14.
Parts of the trail have been closed since 2019 as the condition of the boardwalk deteriorated. It has been completely closed for about 18 months after it was designated as a hazard for users. Completion for the project’s first phase is expected in Spring 2023, an Enviva spokesperson said.
The company will partner with the land trust and the City of Lucedale to help maintain the urban greenway going forward.
The Lucedale Depot Creek Greenway opened in 2003.
Judge Bill Bailey, working with the city, land trust, Mississippi Department of Transportation, the Luce Family and the City of Lucedale, created a 43-acre community space with handicap and woodland trails, an educational pavilion and two small ponds for fishing accessible by the elevated boardwalk near the old Lucedale train depot.
The city and George County later received funding from the Department of Marine Resources to preserve a natural area, the Lucedale Greenway Preserve, that includes two spring fed streams, 20 species of large hardwood and pine trees, a variety of bird and wildlife habitats and trails accessing rolling hills and creek lowlands.
Former mayor Dayton Whites championed the Lucedale Greenway Preserve that runs from Lamar Street, north of Rhymes Baptist Church, to Beaver Dam Road at the railroad tracks. It ties into the city park trail which connects it with the Depot Creek Greenway. The preserve remains open for public use.