The Riverwalk originally opened in 1972, but in 1999, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation realized it needed improvements and started a capital campaign to raise the needed money.
To raise funds, an original painting of the colonial-era ferry landing on the Neuse River was commissioned and a number of prints signed by the artist, Renee K. Langdon, were sold.
That money, along with more than $1 million in state grants, have been used to improve the Riverwalk by paving the trail and adding lights.
The 2.94-mile Buffalo Creek Greenway stretches from the downtown area to Smithfield Community Park. It links northern and southern historical residential neighborhoods, four town parks, and two schools.
"We are pleased to finally unveil the completed greenway to the public. The Buffalo Creek Greenway will be a great asset to our community," said Tim Johnson, Director of Smithfield Parks & Recreation, in a news release.
The Buffalo Creek Greenway is also a link in the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which extends from Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.