The Crabtree Quarry has been on Duraleigh Road for decades, and for years this legal dispute has kept Raleigh from fully connecting its greenways.
"It would be holy grail of the system," said greenway advocate Sig Hutchinson.
Hutchinson has waited nearly 20 years to get the green light for the stretch of land -- the missing link -- that would connect 180 miles of greenways in Raleigh, Cary, and Durham.
"We were so pessimistic about this ever being done that it was even taken off the greenway maps," said Hutchinson.
A legal dispute with Hanson Aggregates, which is the owner of Crabtree Quarry, has delayed the project for decades, but, under a new agreement, Raleigh will get an easement to extend the Crabtree Creek Greenway west to Umstead Park.
"You have to go into the park to access the park," said Hutchinson. "So this is that first direct connection."
From Umstead, greenway users can access the Cary trail system and eventually Durham's American Tobacco Trail.
The deal also ends operations at the quarry within 40 years, which is a relief for neighbors often disturbed by blasting at the site.
Hanson has agreed to build dirt barriers at the north end of quarry as a sound buffer and limit blasting to between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. After it closes, the city has the option to buy the property for $10.
"We can use it for storm water, flood control or we can actually use it for drinking water retention," said Hutchinson. "So there's a lot of advantages to a quarry pit and now that we know when they'll be leaving we can plan for the future."
Hanson has agreed to move the quarry entrance to the north side of its property to avoid traffic congestion on busy Duraleigh Road. In return, the city will allow them to expand operations on that side before it ultimately closes for good.
"There's a date certain for when the quarry has to shut down, and I think that's good for the City of Raleigh," said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson says the greenway trail design could start immediately, but the city needs nearly $4 million to fund the project which was diverted from a previous bond package. Hutchinson says if that happens, it could be finished by the end of 2016.