Community Rallies to Pave First Half Mile of Rail Trail
February 15, 2017
In response to an urgent fundraising appeal that began at the end of January, over 50 individuals, businesses and organizations helped Newton Trails raise over $34,000 in a two-week period to cover the costs of paving the first half mile of rail trail. The paved section, which is open to pedestrians and bicyclists, will run from Elm Street to Floyd Street in Covington. No motor vehicles, except wheelchairs are permitted. (MAP)
Originally, Newton Trails had plans to pave a quarter-mile section of rail trail from Elm Street to Anderson Avenue in 2017 and was developing a plan to raise the remaining funds needed to cover the estimated cost of $60,000. However, in a surprise development, Newton County resident Earl Vaughn, who owns Vaughn Concrete Construction, offered to pave a half mile of trail for just $68,000, if Newton Trails could act immediately before an expected rise in concrete prices.
The call for funds went out to trail supporters in Newton County and beyond on January 27, and they responded with an outpouring of donations as well as pledges of future support.
At the same time, Newton Trails began discussions with Ed McBrayer of the PATH Foundation, an organization known for its work on the Silver Comet Trail, Atlanta Beltline, Carrollton Beltline, and Rockdale County trail system. While Newton Trails had planned for the trail to be four-inch-thick concrete, McBrayer said that the PATH Foundation would be able to immediately contribute $9,750 to the project if Newton Trails would pave with five-inch concrete instead.
Recognizing the significance of PATH Foundation support, Newton Trails board members committed to the goal of raising the additional funds needed to pay for five-inch-thick concrete and realized that goal within two weeks from when the fundraising appeal began. Concrete pouring began on Thursday, February 9.
Fundraising will continue in order to develop the Elm Street trailhead and pave additional sections of rail trail. Newton Trails will recognize those who donate up to $499 as Trail Supporters and those who donate $500-$999 as Trail Founders in our e-newsletter and at the Rail Trail Ribbon Cutting, Naming Ceremony and Every Body Walk Newton kick off on April 5. For those who donate $1,000 or more, we will also incorporate inscribed granite markers into the Elm Street trailhead design in recognition of their support. Donations for 2017 will be cumulative to allow increased participation at the Trail Marker level.