The city of Conway announced recently that it has been awarded $24.6 million by the United States Department of Transportation to construct the Connect Conway greenway trail with funding from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. The project is meant to build safe, equitable, and accessible transportation through investment in 15 miles of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, providing a viable transportation option that links ten city parks, seven schools, three major retail areas, three higher education institutions, fourteen major employment centers, sixteen neighborhoods, and more.
“I’d like to thank our team at the City Hall who put in the work to get the job done successfully,” said Mayor Bart Castleberry. “A number of community stakeholders came together to work on a short time frame on this historic endeavor. I’d especially like to thank Finley Vinson, Felicia Rogers, Robbie Alberson, Aaron Knight, James Walden, and Kurt Jones.”
Currently, full economic and community participation is nearly impossible for those without access to personal automobiles. Connect Conway will provide a safe alternative to cars and link the majority of the city’s existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure, which is in the western part of the city, with the eastern part of Conway.
“The name of the project rings true to what the project is all about: connecting Conway,” said Planning & Development Director James Walden. “This will be a tremendous recreational asset. But it provides a real transportation option for those who can’t or choose not to drive.”
Work on Connect Conway began 4 years ago with the first grant applications being submitted in 2018. After public support was obtained, an engineering plan was developed by Crafton Tull to support the proposal. The USDA funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2026, and must be expended by September 30, 2031.
Congressman French Hill said in a statement, “Over the past four years my office has worked with the city of Conway to fine tune its grant application and I’m delighted that hard work has persevered, and now the Connect Conway vision is one step closer to reality.”
Senator Tom Cotton said in a statement, “For years, the city of Conway has worked towards this goal—and thanks to the dedication of local leaders, ‘Connect Conway’ can now move forward. Conway is already a flourishing center for education and culture in our state, but this comprehensive new project will make the city an even more attractive place for Arkansans to learn, visit, and raise their families.”
Click here to read the city’s full announcement.