At yesterday's meeting we were joined for the first time by the Mayor of Good Hope, George Garrett. Mayor Garrett spoke enthusiastically to task force members about the great big things going on in the little town of Good Hope (population 289 people).
While small in population and land area (1.8 square miles), Good Hope is a sizeable landmark in the region's cycling community. Situated at the junction of GA highways 83 and 186, the town is a crossroads linking popular cycling routes in the Rockdale/Newton/Walton County area to those frequented by cyclists out of Athens. On any given Saturday, and many weekdays as well, you'll find hungry, thirsty riders sitting outside the Good Hope General Store, enjoying a homemade biscuit and a swig of Gatorade.
So, with the Mayor's enthusiastic support, along with Serrano Ride Director Paul Jones and DeDe Harris at Walton Wellness, an incredible program is taking shape that will cement and enhance Good Hope's place on the Georgia cycling map. The Walton Road Share project is identifying and publishing popular cycling routes on the program web site. And, Walton Wellness is developing a "wellness ride" to promote cycling as a healthy activity for county residents. Along the way, the city will also be seeking grants to build a welcome center/comfort station for cyclists and encouraging more events to start/finish in Good Hope.
"Good Hope: Happy to Share Our Roads." That's the slogan on the Walton Road Share web site. And, I loved how Mayor Garrett explained it as I talked to him after Wednesday's task force meeting...
"These rides bring over a thousand cyclists through our town," he said. "And, when they leave, there isn't a piece of trash left anywhere. We love having the cyclists. We want them to continue coming and to stay longer with us"
Good Hope is a town that gets it. And, that means more hope for the rest of us.
For more information on the NEGRC Bike/Ped task force, see the most recent Regional Plan for Biking & Walking.