Plan would extend, add bike trails

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Bicycle and walking enthusiasts might eventually have some new trails to traverse in Columbia County.

Terry Chappel, of Augusta, rides the path at the canal headgates in Columbia County. Plans would lengthen paths across the county.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Terry Chappel, of Augusta, rides the path at the canal headgates in Columbia County. Plans would lengthen paths across the county.

Plans are in the works to extend Grovetown's Euchee Creek Trails, to build the Euchee Creek Greenway around Patriots Park and to construct some trails as part of the Evans Town Center Park.

Some of the construction will hinge on citizen support as the trails likely will be included on a November sales tax referendum.

Preliminary items officials would like to include on a referendum are $2 million for the first phase of the greenway and $6 million for the Town Center Park.

"It's going to go around Patriots Park, down Columbia Road, through Bartram Trail," said Preston Duffie, the county's landscape architect and community forester, about the greenway's first phase. "It's going to piggyback on the sewer easements and then come back on the power easements to form a four-mile loop."

Later phases might include building a trail north to connect to Riverside Park on Hardy-McManus Road and south to the Euchee Creek Trails in Grovetown, which currently extend from Wrightsboro Road to Harlem-Grovetown Road.

Mr. Duffie said he hopes to work with Grovetown officials on a joint venture to connect the greenway to the trails.

"That'd be great, but the part we're adding on is going the opposite direction," Grovetown Mayor George James said.

Through a $500,000 TEA Grant, a federal grant allocated through state departments of transportation to build alternative transportation routes, Grovetown officials intend to add to their two-mile trail on 30 acres of donated land between the trail on Harlem-Grovetown Road and Liberty Park, Mr. James said.

Trails will circumnavigate the future Town Center Park at the field behind the Evans Kroger.

County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said part of the park plan includes extending the trail to Evans to Locks Road. However, it might go further.

Mr. Cross said a park plan could include building a bike path down Evans To Locks Road to a CSX railroad track. A trail currently exists on the other side of the track and extends down Evans To Locks Road to the Savannah Rapids Pavilion.

The railroad track is a major impediment to connecting the trails.

"We're not going to pay them (CSX) $500,000 to do a new gate system there to cross the tracks," Mr. Cross said. "If people want to ride across the tracks, like they do today, that'd be fine."

Gaps in the current bike path on Evans to Locks Road, near Stevens Creek Elementary School and Blue Ridge Drive, might get filled during future transportation projects on the road, Mr. Duffie said.

Unless county officials propose, and voters pass, a bond referendum along with the sales tax package, the earliest county officials can collect sales tax funds for building the trails at Patriots and Evans Town Center parks would be 2011.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (6) Add comment
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georgiasouthern
5
Points
georgiasouthern 02/02/08 - 03:26 am
0
0
Please support this. I will

Please support this. I will not move to columbia county if these trails are not built. If all else fails North Augusta is calling my name.

fd1962
26
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fd1962 02/02/08 - 09:39 am
0
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Collecting the sales tax
Unpublished

Collecting the sales tax funds for designated projects certainly doesn't have much to do with the actual commencement of building any project - at least in Columbia County. Road paving in the rural sections approved and financed by referendum more than FIVE years ago remains a non-priority. I guess the community guardians have gotten used to spending the yearly interest accumulating on the road money already collected on their vanity projects.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 02/02/08 - 09:49 am
0
0
If only we could get a few
Unpublished

If only we could get a few more tire stores, restaurants, banks, and drug stores out by Krogers in Evans. Then we'd be livin'.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 02/02/08 - 10:38 am
0
0
How 'bout

How 'bout sidewalks/biketrails along CC arteries such as Washington, Columbia, Wrightsboro, and Hardy-McManus roads as well as the Few Parkway? Will I have to relocate to Jones Creek or Westlake to obtain ready access to safe pedestrian and biking venues?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 02/02/08 - 10:48 am
0
0
How 'bout

How 'bout sidewalks/biketrails along CC arteries such as Washington, Columbia, Wrightsboro, and Hardy-McManus roads as well as the Few Parkway? Will I have to relocate to Jones Creek or Westlake to obtain ready access to safe pedestrian and biking venues?

gnx
7
Points
gnx 02/02/08 - 03:29 pm
0
0
Seems like soccer parks, bike

Seems like soccer parks, bike and walking trails are of more importance than necessary improvements like county road paving and storm water projects that I've been paying on for years and have yet to see anything _really_ done to show for my money besides improvements on a West Lake area pond. They don't pay the storm water fees in West Lake or other "favored" neighborhoods like Ivy Falls and the newest golf course neighborhood on Columbia Road. I agree fd - the county loves their vanity projects and to heck with the folks who have paid their taxes, waited patiently and STILL don't have promised improvements.

gnx
7
Points
gnx 02/02/08 - 03:32 pm
0
0
And yes, I do realize this

And yes, I do realize this story is mainly about Grovetown's part of the trail extension. I applaud the city of Grovetown as they appear to be on the ball when it comes to infrastructure, expenditures and expansions. Columbia County could certainly take a lesson from them.

Little Lamb
45886
Points
Little Lamb 02/02/08 - 11:47 pm
0
0
They ran a walking/biking

They ran a walking/biking trail from Savannah Rapids Pavilion to just past Jones Creek. But they SAID they were going to run it all the way to the Government Complex in Evans. How about finishing that one before starting another one.

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