Purple Martin Greenway: 2015 Town Council Recreation Vision Finally Completed

Posted on February 25, 2021



In 2015, the Town Council set out to take a unique vision to craft a new era in recreational offerings for all ages in our community and make it into reality! This goal was to connect Crestview Park in the Southern end of Town to Kiwanis Park in the Northern End of Town. This plan was crafted over the years with help from the Rutherfordton Trails Committee, the NC STEP program, and other planning efforts.

While the Town Council did not formally adopt the Trails Corridor Master Plan until March of 2015, efforts to craft a vision for the Purple Martin date back to 2005 during the initial phases of the work of the Town’s Trails Committee. Since the adoption of the Master Plan in 2015, the Town has worked with landowners, RHI Legacy, Town Staff, and many other stakeholders to begin bringing the Purple Martin Greenway to life. Now at officially 2.5 miles, the Trail has reached a major milestone by connecting Crestview park to Kiwanis Park with a 10-foot-wide paved trail.

In 2018 as the Purple Martin grew closer to Kiwanis Park, the efforts by the Recreation Committee to create a full update to the park began. Now the vision for Kiwanis Park is a reality and open for all to enjoy, anchored by the Greenway, the park is a destination for recreation, home to a dog park, performance lawn, adventure playground, paved walking loops, & a state of the art covered pavilion with bathrooms

In June of 2015, Town Staff began Phase 1 of the Purple Martin and now as we move into 2021, the trail has reached this wonderful milestone. A journey of 5 years and 2.5 miles, countless volunteer hours, a strong commitment from our community, support from the Town council, contributions by RHI Legacy all combined with the determination to create a one kind greenway for our community. As we celebrate together, those that have been so close to the trail over the years share their thoughts on this wonderful achievement.



“Seeing this vision come to life and seeing the community respond by using the trail has been nothing short of transformational. This greenway has spurred growth, reenergized people, created & strengthened friendships changed lives, and improved our community. If you have not walked the Purple Martin from Crestview to Kiwanis, I encourage you to put this on your 2021 list of must-do activities.”

-Jimmy Dancy, Mayor of Rutherfordton

“To me, it has been exciting to see each phase of the trail develop.  With each phase seeing more and more people enjoy the trail and discover this asset has been exciting.  Each day I see friends walking, families walking, biking, and enjoying the creek, I have even seen a couple get engaged on the trail. I personally walk the trail several days a week and love it! The Purple Martin trail is an asset with endless potential for our community.”

-Christy Bare, Former Town Councilmember

“RHI Legacy Foundation is very proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of making the Purple Martin Greenway become the asset that it is for Rutherfordton. From the day the trail opened we have seen the level of activity and know that this is having a positive impact on health and wellness for all that use it.”

-Terry Hines, Executive Director of RHI Legacy Foundation.

“It is beyond exciting to see how the vision of a few started more than 10 years ago has blossomed into a popular reality for all today! It has been really awesome to see all the people on the Purple Martin, quickly wiping away any doubt that it was all worth it. And now the final piece in the puzzle is here where Crestview Park will be connected to downtown and the transformed Kiwanis Park. Rutherfordton truly is a trail town now thanks to the strong support from the town council, town staff and its citizens.”

-Jerry Stensland, Safe Routes to School Coordinator






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