Though there’s a long way to go before a complete 7.6-mile pathway is installed throughout the villages of Buxton and Frisco, the owners of the Frisco Woods Campground marked an important and initial milestone by breaking ground on the first stretch of sidewalk on Monday morning, October 30.
“This is something that we’re paying for on our own,” said Frisco-Buxton Pathway Committee member and Frisco Woods Campground Manager, Stacey Saunders. “We’ve been raising funds for the overall pathway for years, and asking the community to get involved, and we figured that it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”
The new section of the pathway will be just 1,400 feet long, (or approximately .27 miles), and will run from the edge of Frisco Woods Campground to the Little Grove United Methodist Church near Piney Ridge Road in Frisco.
Although it’s a short stretch of paved pathway, it will nevertheless bypass a number of popular destinations, including the Frisco Woods Campground, Tavern on 12, Hatteras Sno-Balls, and the Pamlico Deli. It will also include a crosswalk near the popular sno-ball stand for safer foot-traffic across busy N.C. Highway 12.
This first small portion of the project is privately funded by the Frisco Woods Campground and will cost $240,645 due to design, materials, and the construction itself, with Albemarle & Associates, Ltd. creating the design, and contractor Fred Smith Company overseeing the construction.
However, according to Saunders, it’s a sound investment that will hopefully lead to more interest and local involvement in reaching the long-term goal of a pathway that encompasses both Buxton and Frisco villages.
“It’s definitely a start, and eventually, the pathway can connect with a [longer] pathway down the road,” said Saunders. “Our big hope is that this encourages other businesses and organizations in the Buxton/Frisco area to step up and do the same.”
The Hatteras Island community got its first look at the proposed Frisco-Buxton pathway at a 2019 open house, which provided detailed plans of a 7.6-mile pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. The pathway will run parallel to N.C. Highway 12, and hopefully, will eventually extend from the Valero Gas Station in Buxton to the Frisco Bathhouse Beach Access, just south of Frisco’s borders.
The pathway project is spearheaded by the Frisco-Buxton Pathway Committee and the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway Committee for Dare County, which was instrumental in creating similar pathways in the island’s five other villages: Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, and Hatteras.
Currently, Buxton and Frisco are the only two villages on Hatteras Island that do not have a village-wide pathway, and Committee members had hoped that the project would receive a hefty grant from the National Scenic Byway program, which would have funded roughly 80% of the estimated $2.48 million required for the first 4.41-mile phase of the project.
That major grant did not come to fruition, but the Frisco-Buxton Pathway Committee is researching other grants and avenues to get the project started, which includes regular events at the Campground and other fundraising initiatives. Since 2021, more than $110,000 has been raised from festivities and events at the Frisco Woods Campground alone.
“We will not stop fundraising until Frisco and Buxton has multi-use pathways, like all the other villages,” said Saunders. “If we have to do it one square at a time, we will.”
Monday’s Groundbreaking Ceremony garnered two dozen attendees, which included long-standing Frisco-Buxton Pathway Committee members Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy, Steve Jones, Natalie Kavanagh, and Susan Patzer Aliff.
The short but notable event included a speech by Frisco Woods Campground owner Ward “Buster” Barnett, and a prayer to bless the new sidewalk, before Barnett and Saunders joined forces to remove the first shovelful of dirt from the ground.
“This is a gift from the Frisco Woods Campground to the Frisco-Buxton Pathway [Project],” said Barnett. “The first step is the hardest step in any great journey, and the Frisco Woods Campground has just made that first step.”