Bicycle riders will soon be able to hop on their bikes and pedal more than four continuous miles of the Carrollton GreenBelt when the latest 1.5-mile Hobbs property segment opens Saturday, Aug. 24.
“You’ll be able to go from the visitors’ center on Bankhead Highway to Rome Street, more than four miles,” said Erica Studdard, executive director of Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt. “That’s long enough to get good exercise. You can get on your bike and get a great workout.”
This latest segment to open goes through the Hobbs property, a 200-acre tract of former farmland, now owned by the city of Carrollton.
“An 8:30 a.m. grand opening ceremony will be held at the Hobbs property just before the start of the second annual GreenBelt 5K road race,” Studdard said. “It’ll be a fun event, with a band and ribbon cutting ceremony, co-hosted by the city and Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt.
“We’re doing something special at the race this year, with the top race finishers, the top 20 men and top 20 women, getting a chance to compete for $1,000 in a 1-mile Dash for Cash contest, sponsored by United Community Bank," she added.
The GreenBelt is a paved, 12-foot wide trail system designed for pedestrian and non-motorized vehicles. When completed, it will form a 16-mile loop around the city of Carrollton, connecting University of West Georgia, city schools, parks and several shopping centers. The trail is being constructed through a partnership of the city of Carrollton, Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt and the Path Foundaton.
The GreenBelt is being touted as a recreational opportunity, an alternative to vehicular transportation and a way to combat sedentary lifestyles and the growing obesity health problem.
Assistant City Manager Tim Grizzard said the trail segment through the Hobbs property will be a very attractive addition, which will include wetlands and several city amenities.
“The city has built bathroom facilities with really attractive architecture,” Grizzard said. “Part of the trail through the property includes a split rail fence along areas where the bank is steep.”
He said observation areas will be added on the property, including one to view a blue heron rookery in the wetlands area.
Another 1.7-mile segment of the trail is under construction on the University of West Georgia campus, which will link the intersection of Brumbelow and Lovvorn roads to Maple Street. Construction of the university segment began in mid-July and is expected to be completed in about five months.
Studdard said work will also be completed within six to eight months on the crossing across Bankhead Highway, near Lake Carroll, to the visitors’ center.
Trail segments totaling 5.4 miles have already been completed from the Hay’s Mill Road trail head through the city school campus, and from the city fire station on Northside Drive to Lake Carroll. Another segment, from the Big Lots shopping center to the Cedar Street extension, is also under construction.
“By year’s end, our goal is to have around eight miles either constructed or under construction,” Studdard said.
City officials hope the entire Carrollton GreenBelt will be completed within five years. The trail is being built mainly through grant funding and private donations.
Routing of the trail segment that will connect the UWG segment to the Maples Commons shopping center area, has not been determined. City officials held a May 29 public hearing to get input from Heritage Hills residents to help decide which of three routing options will be used.
Work began on the GreenBelt in May 2011, with the paving of about 1.3 miles of trail from the city schools to the Target store on U.S. 27. This first segment cost about $1 million and was funded by grants, private donations and SPLOST funds.
The second segment of the trail, about 1.8 miles, was build from the Carrollton fire station at the intersection of Bankhead Highway and Northside Drive to Lakeshore Park on Lake Carroll. It was funded entirely by private donations.
The third segment, about 0.6 miles, connected the Hay’s Mill Road trailhead to the school property. It was paid for by private funding and a Land and Water Conservation fund grant.
The city received a $100,000 grant from Georgia Department of Natural Resources to use on the trail section near Lake Carroll. The grant was part of $2.1 million Georgia Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trail Program grants made to 19 different municipal agencies.
The Path Foundation, an Atlanta-based, nonprofit trail development organization responsible for developing the popular Silver Comet Trail, is providing technical assistance for the Carrollton GreenBelt work.
Information about Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt can be found online at www.carrolltongreenbelt.com.