There was a great turn out for the Mt Berry Trail groundbreaking on May 31st. TRED is so appreciative of all the people that worked to make this trail a reality, especially the voters who approved the 2013 SPLOST package – it really takes a village. We hope to see a crowd triple the size for the groundbreaking come for the ribbon cutting in early fall when the trail is completed. The trail will begin behind the Post Office at Coligni Way and follow the Oostanaula River north and connect with the northern part of the Heritage Trail network at the Armuchee Bypass. This is going to be one of the most scenic and shady 1.8 miles of trails yet…cattle, beaver, blue herons, a pond, birds and much more, will keep you entranced as you traverse.
City breaks ground for Mt. Berry Trail
Community leaders turned a few shovels of dirt behind the U.S. post office in Rome Friday to signal the start of work on the first phase of the Mount Berry Trail.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Julie Smith, president of the trails advocacy group called TRED, Trails for Recreation and Economic Development.
Smith told a large crowd gathered for the groundbreaking that some public officials had sought their support for adding the Redmond Trail and Mount Berry Trail to the 2013 SPLOST wish list. Friday’s groundbreaking marked the first physical work on either of the projects.
A Spriggs Construction Bobcat was knocking down and grinding scrub trees in the distant background during the ceremony. The trail will run from a trailhead behind the post office on Coligni Way along the west bank of the Oostanaula River out to where Big Dry Creek empties into the river. A second phase, across Big Dry Creek to the Armuchee Connector, is still in the engineering process.
Berry College President Stephen Briggs told the crowd that he had recently been down one of the Berry pastures where the trail will run, and said the view of mist coming off the river one morning was a spectacular sight.
“Why wouldn’t we want to share this with everybody,” Briggs said.
City Commissioner Jamie Doss told the crowd he started running when he was a student at Berry many years ago, and said continuing to run along the trails in Rome through the years had “changed my life.” Doss said urban trails are in great demand across the country.
“I like the Appalachian Trail but I can’t pop on it at the end of the day,” Doss said.
Smith turned the clock back over 20 years in thanking several former city officials, particularly John Bennett, Jim Dixon and Ron Sitterding, for their visions of greenspace and initial work to develop Ridge Ferry Park.
Floyd County Commissioner Rhonda Wallace said ultimately she hoped to see trails connect Rome and Cave Spring and on to the Silver Comet Trail in Polk County.
“We all know that good things take time,” Smith said.
Former Mayor Wright Bagby, now a county commissioner told the crowd, “I hope to be able use these things other than on a walker.”
The trail is expected to be complete late this year, however it will be somewhat isolated until the first phase of the Redmond Trail, from the end of the levee on West 13th Street, under a Norfolk Southern trestle and across Little Dry Creek is completed. Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord is hopeful that funding for that project, which has been on the books for close to 10 years, is freed up during the upcoming winter GDOT funding cycle.