Part Two: Newest segment of The Thread opens

Published 9:17 pm Sunday, April 22, 2018

Despite stiff competition from other local events, The Thread 5K and ribbon cutting drew a crowd on Saturday.

About 94 runners competed in the 5K race, and 44 dogs took part in the cutest dog on The Thread contest at Eastside Park. However, those leading the event said that its greatest victory was in the variety of people who attended.

“The idea was to not just build a nice wide sidewalk, to not just pour some concrete in the ground, to not just create another recreational amenity, but to bring people out of their homes, to bring them out into the community to interact with one another, to interact with our neighbors with our coworkers, with the people we just pass on the street, to build that sense of community,” Mayor Jim Thornton said. “This is a very diverse crowd, but you can go down to Granger Park anytime over the last year with the first phase, and you see a very diverse crowd. … This represents what LaGrange is and what LaGrange can be.”

The idea of The Thread as a transformative addition to the community was reiterated by several speakers.

“I love The Thread. One of the main reasons I love The Thread and believe in The Thread and support this project is because I believe that it makes for a higher standard of living for all in LaGrange,” said Charlie Metcalf, the pastor at Clearview Chapel and Friends of The Thread board member. “This trail truly does have the potential to transform our city.”

The people who have dedicated time and/or funding to the project were recognized as part of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Some of those noted were Hughston Clinic, Surance America, The Medicine Cabinet, Arrington Builders, LaGrange Women’s Health, Childress Dental Center, State Farm Agent Paula Waldron, The Friends of The Thread, city staff and City Planner Leigh Threadgill.

“That is one of the things that continues to make our city and our county great — the partnerships that we have and working together to make things like this happen for the benefit of all of our citizens,” said Speer Burdette, the president of the Callaway Foundation.

Those over the project hope to see The Thread inspire people to go out, exercise and get to know other people in the community.

“I am so excited for people to come over to this side of town and see how this area is going to be improved, and the community is going to be inspired to get out and exercise,” said Natalie Hale, the executive director of Friends of The Thread. “I’ve walked it twice in the last three days by myself, and it is a very scenic route. When more people come over here, it is going to bring more people to this side of town. Most people have never even been over here, and it is going to be a bridge for the community.”

The trail segment is only the beginning for the community though.

“Over the next few years, as we connect phases one and two, as we connect downtown LaGrange, as we connect LaGrange College, as we start to tie all of these parks and recreational amenities together with this Thread,” Thornton said. “I am telling you that the potential for more and even larger events like this is limitless. It is really up to us as a community to use this amenity as another reason to come together.”

The third segment of The Thread is expected to begin construction in May. It will go from Granger Park starting at East Haralson Street, south on Greenwood Street, then west on Broad Street, then south on Panther Way before the end of the segment at the Vernon Street intersection. Part of the trail’s focus will be increasing accessibility to the area.

“Accessibility for all [is important]. Everyone needs equal access,” said Allison Clarke, who helped design the third segment of The Thread. “Healthy lifestyles is what this promotes, so it is great. Even looking around here you see people of all lifestyles out here. That is where towns meet.”

Clarke won first place for the women’s division of the 5K with a clock time of 19:53.8. Her husband, Ben Clarke, won first overall while pushing a stroller with their son in it with a clock time of 18:24.2.

To learn more about The Thread, visit