Jamestown leaders hope new sidewalk project will highlight local Lydia ghost story

JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- Town leaders hope a new sidewalk project in Jamestown will highlight a local legend.

Assistant Town Manager Matthew Johnson said a walking path and lighting are planned for a path along East Main Street.

“It is difficult to get through this area now. The existing underpass doesn’t have a safe shoulder or a safe passage for pedestrians,” he said.

The path will bring pedestrians through an underpass made famous by the Lydia ghost story. According to the legend, Lydia was killed in a car crash on her way to prom.

“If you’re traveling in this area, you may encounter her and be asked to pick her up and carry her to her destination, only to find out she was not real,” Johnson said. “It is occasionally a destination spot for ghost hunters and folks that are looking for Lydia."

Plans show the path spanning a little more than half a mile, ending near Guilford Technical Community College's campus on East Main Street.

“We have requests from residents in the Yorkley area, they want to build a walk back to downtown, we’ve got a thriving downtown. This will give us good connectivity, plus this is a historic site,” Public Services Director Paul Blanchard said.

Amy Havlen lives in the area and says more accessibility would benefit students in the area, as well as walkers and cyclists.

“It’s right on a busy curve, where the road goes under the railroad tracks, so it’s probably not the safest area for students to be walking on the edge. It’s somewhat visible, but a walking path would be a great idea,” she said.

The project is expected to cost around $850,000, covered by federal and state funds. Blanchard said the sidewalk would include lights in the underpass, and a metal canopy on either side of the railroad tracks for safety.

Havlen said she looked forward to seeing progress on the paths.

“I grew up here, went to Ragsdale, and the story about Lydia is just a fun local legend," she said. “I think that having it lit would be great for the community.”

Construction is expected to start over the summer.

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