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County applies for grant for Thread

The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved an application that could result in additional funding for The Thread trail on Tuesday.

The Recreational Trails Grant application the county voted to submit is the same Georgia Department of Natural Resources grant that the LaGrange City Council voted to apply for last week. If both are approved, it could result in a total of $400,000 toward the project.

A major point of discussion for commissioners though was the trail’s location in relation to unincorporated Troup County, considering concerns some residents have expressed about the amount of SPLOST funds that will be used within city limits. Commissioner Morris Jones specifically asked for the mileage of the trail segment outside the city.

“There is about two miles of that road from Country Club Road across to Vernon Drive,” said County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews, noting that not all of that will be in the unincorporated county, but it will all be within the county as a whole.

The segment will be built both inside the city limits and outside into the unincorporated county. While the exact length of the segment that will cross outside city limits was unclear in the meeting, it would be the first segment of The Thread in unincorporated Troup County.

“They’ve actually identified another section that goes along Country Club Road, and it will actually be a section that goes off away from the road through a nature park area,” said Cajen Rhodes, the Troup County Parks and Recreation director, during last week’s work session.

If approved, the grant to the city would fund a portion of the trail near LaGrange College. Because of the terms of the grant, any trails funded by it must run through greenspaces, not beside roadways. Both grants would likely speed the process of The Thread’s construction. Initial estimates for the total time that it will take to build the 29-mile Thread trail were around seven years.

LaGrange City Planner Leigh Threadgill offered to write the grant application for the county. The grant is extremely competitive, but officials are hopeful that both LaGrange and Troup County will receive the funding.

It is also possible that only one of the grants could be approved by GDNR though.

The grant would require 20 percent matching funds which could come from funds already designated for the project in the SPLOST. According to Rhodes, the county can expect to find out if it has been approved by GDNR in April. If approved, the funding would become available in 2019, which would line up with the beginning of the SPLOST funding that voters approved in November.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.