Newton Trails Commits to M&O for Turkey Creek/Yellow River Trail
November 4, 2016
Newton Trails has requested that the Newton County board of commissioners and appointed members of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) committee consider the Turkey Creek/Yellow River Trail for the 2017 SPLOST project list. To alleviate concerns regarding future maintenance and operation of the trail, the Newton Trails board of directors has agreed to take responsibility for M&O in coordination with the county, adjoining cities and the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority.
At 3.8 miles, the estimated annual cost to maintain the trail would be approximately $5,700, based on the finding that the average trail has annual M&O costs of under $1,500, regardless of surface type. An extensive, national study has found that the annual cost to maintain a trail, regardless of surface type, is less than $1,500 per mile. Considering that the Turkey Creek/Yellow River Trail will be 3.8 miles long, a conservative estimate for annual M&O is $5,700. In anticipation of the trail’s construction, Newton Trails has reserved the first year’s M&O funding.
The trail has been part of Newton County's master plan since 2001 and engineering for the trail was completed in 2010 in anticipation of the trail's construction. As designed, the trail would cost approximately $4,000,0000 to build and provide a much-needed pedestrian and bike-friendly connection between Covington and Porterdale. The trail would run from Turner Lake Complex past Porterdale Elementary School, Porter Performing Arts Center and the Newton County Career Academy to Porterdale's Main Street and Yellow River Park.
In a recent letter of support for including the trail on the 2017 SPLOST project list, Jim Weadick, CEO of Piedmont Newton Hospital, wrote, "Piedmont believes in promoting wellness in our community and trails are recognized as an effective way to promote citizen health."
Reggie McFarland, CEO of Telrite Corporation, emphasized in his letter of support that "trails are attractive to potential employers considering relocating to Newton. It is vital that Newton County is able to attract the best and brightest candidates when local corporations are hiring; designated walking, jogging and biking trails are a huge draw for today's corporate executives."
Likewise, executives at Wagner Service Solutions wrote, "Quality of life enhancements are crucial to promote community health, retain young families, and compete successfully for future economic development and expansion."
To voice your support for the project, please call, email or write to current and incoming members of the board of commissioners.