Developing a 15-mile rail trail is a big undertaking. Newton Trails has outlined a few first steps to get the project started and open the trail to public use as soon as possible.
1) The rail trail includes four trestle bridge crossings in various states of repair. While the ultimate goal is to reconstruct the bridges for pedestrian and bike use, we'll need to restrict access in the interim in order to ensure public safety.
2) The rail trail begins at Washington Street at the western limit of Covington just outside of Porterdale and ends at Ziegler Road just outside of Newborn. There are over 30 road crossings in between. We'll need to install signage to identify the trail and parking areas, remind trail users to stop before crossing any roadways, and educate the public regarding trail use rules and emphasize that the trail is for pedestrian and bike use only.
3) When the rails were removed from the corridor in early 2015, the rail corridor appeared trail ready. However, after a rainy Georgia summer and early spring, vegetation has made parts of the trail impassable. Clearing vegetation and developing a management plan are a top priority.
4) While the support for the trail has been overwhelming, we know some owners of property adjacent to the trail have concerns. We hope to meet with these worried adjacent property owners, listen to their concerns and discuss our timeline with them. It is our goal to do our best to put these folks at ease.
5) A major challenge will be naming the trail! We hope to involve our supporters in this part, so look for more information on some fun ways we will do this in the near future.
6) Once we address some of the more immediate needs of the corridor, we’ll develop a marketing plan. Even though the corridor is located in only one county, this plan won’t be restricted to the local area. The corridor has supporters all over waiting to use this wonderful resource!
7) This is a huge undertaking, and we’re going to need dollars to make it happen. We will soon develop a capital campaign aimed at individuals, small businesses and major corporations in the Newton County and surrounding areas. Of course, we will be exploring other avenues of funding, grants, etc. to make this trail a reality.
8) Celebrate! Tremendous work and lots of years have already gone into this project, and we want to make sure that we all take a moment to reflect on these efforts and celebrate what we’ve accomplished. We wouldn’t be here without our supporters. Thank you, and please join us in celebrating this important milestone in Newton Trails history!