Albany residents react to Radium Springs Trail plans
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County leaders are trying to make the Flint River more of a draw as they’re working on plans for an extended trail.
County leaders say they’ll use a new 3.2 million dollar federal grant and local funds to pay for a 6-mile pedestrian walk that will connect Radium Springs to Downtown Albany.
The county has been working to revitalize Radium Strings since a 2017 tornado devastated the area.
The project is in its second phase which will focus on connecting Radium Springs to Albany State University. The third phase will add a trail connecting to Downtown Albany.
Some residents are concerned about how the project will impact their property tax.
“Things are going to really get tight. We certainly don’t need an overture on tax increase. And this is how it gets even tougher,” said Anthony Merritt, Albany resident.
Merritt has lived in Albany all his life and said he’s seen plenty of projects that have dramatically increased property taxes in Albany. He said this project won’t be any different.
“The voters, they had no input on it, and we’ll be salvaged with the tax burden of maintaining the property once it’s been developed,” he said.
Dougherty County sent out this statement regarding resident’s concerns about property taxes.
“With the approval and ongoing collection of Transportation Special Local Options Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) from 2019, as well as the recent grant awarded to Dougherty County by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Radium Springs, funds have already been earmarked that would more than sustain the local match required for this grant, which equates to no additional tax burden for the citizens of Dougherty County,” Officials said.
Some residents believe the trail will be a good addition to Albany.
“For bikers, runners, and people that walk, this will be just another avenue or another place we can walk so things won’t get so stale,” said Darrel Corhen, Albany resident.
He said the property tax debate doesn’t bother him at all.
“Taxes are a part of everything we do these days so just get over it. Pay a few extra cents. If the pandemic didn’t teach us anything, that we need avenues we can get out and do stuff instead of being stuck inside always,” he said.
Jeremy Brown, Dougherty County Public Works Engineer said the new project will require extra resources to maintain the new trail’s maintenance. He’s hoping most of that can come from non-profit organizations such as Friends of the Flint.
“An additional 6 miles is a lot of responsibility, and additional personnel will probably be needed,” he said.
Dougherty County officials said the project isn’t expected to finish until 2024.
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