Hickory – In celebration of two historic milestones for Hickory’s bond program, the City of Hickory invites the public to attend the official ground breaking ceremony for City Walk and a ribbon cutting for Union Square on Monday, September 23.

The ground breaking ceremony for City Walk will take place at 12 p.m. in front of St. Andrews Lutheran Church, near Lenoir-Rhyne University’s campus.

The 10-foot-wide City Walk multiuse path will run along Main Avenue for approximately 1.7 miles, starting at Seventh Avenue NE (in front of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church) and traveling through Downtown Hickory to Ninth Street NW (in front of Deluxe Printing Group).

The contractor for the City Walk project will be Hickory-based Neill Grading and Construction, Co., Inc. In preparation for construction, the City worked with Hickory Sand Company, Inc., Duke Energy, and other utility providers to replace water and sewer infrastructure and relocate utilities along the City Walk path. Completing this work in advance of construction reduces the time needed for Neil Grading and Construction to complete the project. The City Walk is expected to be finished before December 2020.

“The City Walk is an integral part of the urban trail system we are creating in Hickory. It will be a major connector for Hickory’s amenities and destinations, as well as a catalyst for economic growth and investment,” said Hickory City Manager Warren Wood. “We are excited to build the City Walk as we work towards crafting a stronger, more connected community here in the City of Hickory.”

Immediately following the historic ground breaking for City Walk, attendees are invited to The Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:30 p.m. to celebrate the completion of renovations to Union Square.

A planned component of the City Walk project and overall bond program, the Union Square renovations included a complete overhaul of the main pedestrian plaza in the Central Business District, as well as streetscape improvements to the surrounding downtown block.

The new design maintains the historic feel of the Square, while modernizing aesthetics and enhancing the space with a distinguished promenade along Union Square storefronts, a central pathway bisecting two large lawn areas, and additional seating areas called garden rooms or parklets.

Union Square improvements also include new public restrooms, a multi-purpose shade structure, enhanced lighting, and a multi-tiered structure, nicknamed Cannon Hill, to showcase the historic cannon.

The upgrades are intended to increase “dwell time” in downtown by creating spaces where visitors can comfortably enjoy solitary or group activities.

“We’re excited to welcome Hickory residents and visitors to our renovated Union Square,” said Hickory Mayor Hank Guess. “Downtown Hickory is a regional destination for its unique shops, excellent restaurants, and popular events like the Sails Original Music Series and Hickory Oktoberfest. The recent improvements will further establish the downtown area, the heart of Hickory, as an inviting place to visit, live, and thrive.”

Mayor Guess added, “We definitely would not be where we are today with our bond program and these exciting projects without the support and guidance of the City’s 42-member Bond Commission. The City of Hickory and the community thank them for their dedication throughout the design process and assistance with bringing these projects to fruition.”

“It has been a pleasure working with everyone involved in these projects as a member of the Bond Commission,” said Burk Wyatt, Chair of the Bond Implementation Commission. “We are excited to see the ideas and designs we have worked on come to life and be enjoyed by all of Hickory’s residents and visitors. As work progresses on the bond program, we look forward to more great announcements and celebrations in the near future, including those regarding Riverwalk and Book Walk. This project is spread across the city and it is a large game changer for our community!”

For more information about the City of Hickory’s bond program and updates on major City projects, please visit www.CraftingHickory.com.