Threading the community together
Published 10:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017
LaGRANGE – The trail is marked, the first shovel full of dirt has been turned and the Thread Trail is on its way to becoming a reality.
The Friends of the Thread, along with city and county officials, joined locals in breaking ground on the model mile of the Thread Tail on Monday. Many locals hope that the multi-use trail will make it easier to get around LaGrange for both recreational and practical purposes without a car.
“This is an effort to not only provide recreational facilities, but also to tie together our community,” said Mayor Jim Thornton. “That is the whole name for the Thread because in a nod to our textile heritage, we are taking the Thread to weave together all the neighborhoods throughout LaGrange, and to bring people out of their homes – bring them out into this public trail space – to enjoy nature, to enjoy opportunities for exercise.”
The Thread is a joint city and county project, and the Troup County Parks and Recreation department is expected to be over the upkeep of the trail which will be 29 miles long upon completion and weave through large sections of LaGrange.
“If you haven’t been out to Vernon Road this afternoon, they are paving, and as I went to come to this event the traffic was backed up, and I got frustrated,” said Troup County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews. “But as I sat there and thought about it, I thought what a great reason to have bike trail because I could have jumped on a bike trail, and I’d have been there three times as fast.”
The model mile – also known as the Granger Park segment – is located on a piece of land that is on a long-term lease from the Callaway Foundation, and the model mile segment of the trail is expected to be completed within five months.
“This model mile is at the beginning, obviously, and it will go across the (Callaway) Foundation property here (behind St. Mark’s) to Granger Park and around Granger Park and back,” said Spear Burdette of the Callaway Foundation. “I expect to see a lot of use of this. Everyone seems to be excited about it.”
The Thread Trail gained inspiration from other public use trails including developments such as the Atlanta Beltline and the Carrollton GreenBelt, as well as similar trails that are becoming increasingly common all over the country.
“It creates a high quality of life for people so inclined to exercise, to be outdoors, to enjoy the beauty of the world, to socialize with people, to see and meet new people, but in this day and age… it is becoming an economic necessity for communities who wish to grow,” said Bob Goehring, president of the Friends of the Thread. “… People want to live in an area where they can walk, ride, run, stroll and live outdoors, including getting to work, and we envision that as a future possibility.”
Funding for the Thread Trail is expected to be one of the major items featured on this fall’s special-purpose, local-option sales tax vote, or SPLOST, along with other city and county capital improvement projects.
The Calumet Park segment is expected to be the next segment of the Thread to be constructed following the Granger Park segment, according to Thread Executive Director Natalie Hale.
For more information about the Thread and its proposed route visit http://www.thethreadtrail.org