Ground was broken for the pilot project at Boundary Waters Park on Sept. 17. Douglas County DOT director Randy Hulsey said it should be completed within 30 to 45 days. County officials will announce the date of a ribbon cutting and trail tour to herald the event.
The pilot segment of the planned 98-mile trail system is a partnership between Douglas, Carroll and Coweta counties and the city of Chattahoochee Hills in south Fulton County.
Douglas County is the only one of its partners to have shoveled dirt for the project. The other three pilot segments are currently in the planning stages.
Each government received a $500,000 federal grant with a local match of 20 percent — for a total of $600,000, Hulsey said.
The trail was estimated to cost $26 million when completed.
According to Hulsey, the trail has a 12-foot concrete surface and crosses major county drainage structures. The project includes signage and other amenities such as trash receptacles and benches.
The entire project has been branded with a Chattahoochee Trail Country project logo, which was agreed upon by the four governmental partners.
“Douglas County will comply with its share of the remainder of the trail, although there is a lot left to be funded,” said Hulsey. “It will take many years to be built through Douglas County and connections made into a regional trail system.”
He said there are other opportunities to collaborate with other counties to share public and private resources for future development of the trail.
“There is still a lot of planning work to do to continue the regional trail system project,” said Hulsey. “There is no timeline. The [federal funding] was designed to get the project under way and promote and create public interest in the trail system.”
Hulsey called it “a very appealing system, like the Silver Comet trail, but this is an all new location trail, unlike Silver Comet, where they already had abandoned rail paths upon which to develop.”
Boundary Waters was a starting point for Douglas County, where public land was already available.
“The concept is to fall along the Chattahoochee River through the four counties and to use land within conservation areas. It would be the first place to look at,” said the county transportation director.