By LYDIA BERGLAR
The second phase of the Town Creek Trail is completed. A ribbon cutting will be held on Dec. 2 at 11:15 a.m. at the portion of the trail by Citizens Bank & Trust.
Through the time and effort of local non-profit Scenic Dade, this project is being realized after many years of ideas, planning, coordinating, and unexpected difficulties. Peter Cervelli has been involved in the project since the beginning. Over ten years ago, he envisioned a trail when he worked for the City of Trenton.
He recalls, “When the county bought the land for the new courthouse, that made a potential trail possible on the north side of the creek. I went to the school board, the county commission (Commissioner Rumley was extremely helpful), and the board of Citizens Bank to get their approval. All were positive to the concept.”
The trail was started in Jenkins Park where it leads to the center of town, following the creek. Scenic Dade then worked to complete the new addition which extends to the western side of town near Citizens Bank & Trust and the county court facility.
Scenic Dade’s ultimate goal is to connect the trail to Cloudland Canyon (at the Sitton’s Gulch Trailhead.) The non-profit reports, “Such a trail system would provide an extremely valuable asset to our community members, encourage outdoor recreation, protect natural resources, and stimulate the local economy.”
Jennifer Blair (Scenic Dade project manager) and Jamison Griffin (founder and president of Scenic Dade) noted that one benefit of the trail is to offer children a safe pathway to walk to school.
“Town Creek Trail is an extension of our city park, providing a safe walking path for residents and visitors to enjoy. In addition, this project will reveal the beauty of a critical watershed. Moreover, we feel that projects like this help give our community members a vision for the potential of our community.”
The nonprofit could not have completed this project without the help and cooperation of many. “This project is a collaborative effort, including organizations, foundations, local government, businesses, and individuals. The generosity of those involved – the monetary donations, gifts, skills, and time of so many – is truly remarkable.”
Scenic Dade specifically thanks the Lyndhurst Foundation and Riverview Foundation for financial contributions and Vickie and Ronald McBryar for consent.
Additionally, “The City’s endorsement of this project and partnership with regard to its implementation has been and continues to be absolutely essential,” reports Blair. The city is working with GDOT to add a crosswalk on Highway 11, connecting both portions of the trail.
Jeremy McDowell, of J. McDowell Construction, built the trail. Griffin said, “We were very impressed with the work ethic and skill set of J. McDowell Construction. We would highly recommend them for future projects in Dade County or elsewhere.”
Additionally, Stephen Bontekoe of Limestone Valley RC&D explained that a rain garden will be added to a portion of the trail. “A rain garden helps capture water and allows it to infiltrate slowly, as opposed to running off and causing erosion problems. These projects reduce negative impacts that can come from man-made projects.”
Scenic Dade and J. McDowell Construction followed specifications that would allow the water to percolate rather than erode the natural environment. In January, Limestone Valley will be planting trees, bushes, and adding wood chips to further enhance the natural environment and ensure proper water flow.
The rain garden will be behind the courthouse because, Bontekoe reports, an acre’s worth of rain drains from the rooftops of the surrounding buildings. Limestone Valley is also looking into adding two rain gardens to Jenkins Park which would handle water flow from the parking lot.