New recreational trail coming to Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New recreational trail coming to Albany

September 19, 2006

Albany--It took nearly ten years, but an Albany Rails to Trails project is finally traveling in the right direction.

The non-profit organization just signed a deal with the Georgia Southwestern railroad to begin developing recreational trails that will extend from downtown Albany to Armena Road in Lee County.

If you walk along Riverfront Trail in downtown Albany, you'll likely bump into Josh Lorber. He visits the trail often.

"We come down here, it's peaceful," says Lorber.  Josh believes a new trail in the works will bring positive changes.

"The more stuff you can have people do, the more things kids can do and be off the streets," says Lorber.

"What we're doing is providing the backbone for a trail system to develop by developing this trail and hooking into the Riverfront Trail," says Rails to Trails president Bo Johnson.  The organizations is working hard to make the new trail system a reality.

"In urban areas, you may have roller blades and strollers, in rural areas here at Oakland plantation, you may have a biking trail along side and equestrian trail," says Johnson.

The south Georgia rails to trail program replaces old rail road tracks with hiking trails and biking trails, but because the grass is so high, it's an adventure many people aren't willing to take, even for Lorber.

"Hopefully in the new trails they clear them out," says Lorber.

Rails to Trails hopes to do just that. "When we're through with this development, you'll have a paved surface from one end of the trail to the other," says Johnson.

They'll soon work with Albany Tomorrow to achieve that goal. "We look forward to working with them. We think we got some experience on designing and building trails. We might be able to help them on some of the specifications are," says A.T.I president Tommy Chatmon.

Chatmon says the new trail will promote healthy living.

"All the statistics show us, that we have some issues, weight issues, some diabetes issues, cancer issues," says Chatmon.

Most importantly, Johnson says it will boost the area's economy.

"It's very important that we offer these kinds of opportunities for people to enjoy, so they'll be willing to bring a company to this area," says Johnson.

Lorber just looks forward to being one of the first people to enjoy it.

"I'll definitely go," says Lorber.

Rails to Trails still must raise enough money to get the project in gear. For more information on how you can help, you can log onto their website at: www.sgrt.org

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