Rail Trail gets a facelift

April 7, 2009

By KIM BARTO - Bulletin Staff Writer

A year-long makeover of the Uptown Rail Trail, funded by a grant from The Harvest Foundation, is nearly complete.

Four custom leaf sculptures made by Ed Dolinger of Bassett have been installed along the trail, and the gazebo has been decorated to look like a train, complete with wheels and a cowcatcher (metal guard) on the front, said Lois Christensen, executive director of Gateway Streetscape Foundation.

“I’m really tickled at how they turned out,” Christensen said of the artwork.

Gateway Streetscape Foundation received a $131,822 grant from The Harvest Foundation at the end of 2007 to enhance the rail trail and landscaping uptown. The improvements included adding the custom gazebo, signs and safety lights; planting trees and shrubs; and creating different gardens.

“It makes an interesting trail, I think, something different from the usual,” she said. “It’s a pleasant place for people to walk.”

The artwork and other improvements were designed with help from students at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, Christensen said. She and Dolinger met with the teens starting last year to hear their design ideas and suggestions for landscaping.

The teens helped build and paint birdhouses that were installed along the trail, participated in the landscaping and shared ideas for a butterfly garden, Christensen said.

She also planned to place flowers around the gazebo and add herbs to an edible garden that was planted at the trail head on Franklin Street. It includes fruit trees, asparagus, blueberry and raspberry bushes.

Other partners in the uptown enhancements were the city of Martinsville, the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office, Martinsville Electric Department, Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association and the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society.


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