The City of Greensboro has announced a celebration of the beginning of construction of the final mile of the Downtown Greenway on Saturday, Jan. 27.

The celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at 501 Guilford Ave., the site of the Cairn’s Course artwork.

The Downtown Greenway is a four-mile-long, 12-foot-wide sidewalk around the Center City, which saw its birth as a city project in 2001. After 22 years in the making, the event would seem to be a celebration of the beginning of construction of the final 25 percent, which is another way of saying that in 22 years the city has managed to build about three miles of 12-foot-wide sidewalk.

At the present rate of construction, about a mile every seven years, the city could be predicted to hold a celebration for the completion of the Downtown Greenway in 2031. Some may scoff at that estimated time of completion, but in 2001 or 2006, if someone had predicted that the Downtown Greenway would still be under construction in 2024, people would have said it was impossible for it to take over 20 years to build a 12-foot-wide sidewalk four miles in length.

According to the Downtown Greenway website, the final mile construction on the “final mile” was to begin in the first half of 2022.  In fact, the Rhino Times reported on Feb. 28, 2022 that construction on the final mile “could begin as soon as April of this year.”

That article also notes that the final mile was supposed to go out to bid in the summer of 2021 with construction beginning in the fall of 2021 and completion in 2023.

And then there is the cost.  The estimated final cost of the Downtown Greenway is $50 million or about $12 million per mile.

The Downtown Greenway project was started under Mayor Keith Holliday and has continued under mayors Yvonne Johnson, Bill Knight, Robbie Perkins and Nancy Vaughan.

Vaughan’s current term as mayor doesn’t end until November 2025, so there is still an outside chance that the Downtown Greenway could be completed while she is still mayor.