Threading through the city

LaGRANGE – The city council voted to approve a lease with the Callaway Foundation on Tuesday on a property on Haralson Street near the model mile of the Thread Trail.

The land is to be used exclusively for park space, and the 20-year lease with the Callaway foundation will be available for automatic renewal. The city will not be charged for use of the land.

“The city enters into these agreements with the foundation a lot where they don’t charge any rent, and we just agree to maintain – like the parking lots and so forth,” said Mayor Jim Thornton during council’s regular work session.

Projects like the parking lot beside the end of the promenade are under similar lease agreements, and this specific lease would put the city in charge of maintaining the entirety of the model mile of the Thread Trail, which is currently under construction.

“The first segment is 1.2 miles, and it is from West Haralson up to the back of the baseball fields (at Granger Park) and then around the park – so there is a 3/10 of a mile spur from West Haralson to the back of the ballfields – and then there will be a .9 mile stretch,” said City Planner Leigh Threadgill. “So, if you parked at West Haralson and ran out and around and back, you would be doing a mile and a half. Twice is three miles.”

According to Threadgill, all the work visible from North Greenwood is part of the Thread, but the model mile is just a small part of the trail project that officials hope will provide a major recreational draw to the community.

“The second segment starts roughly at the Twin Cedars property on Daniel Street – right there in the southern part of that property that borders the city park property – and then we come in and out through Eastside Park,” said Threadgill. “We cross Niles Street. We go into sort of the back of Calumet Center… We go around that then interact with Shufford (Fields), and then ultimately Harris Fields and get back up to Mike Daniel (recreation center). That next segment has a lot of different connectivity to it.”

The two segments were funded through a combination of funds for trails from the previous special-purpose, local-option sales tax, funds from the Callaway Foundation and state grant funding. Officials hope that the second segment will begin construction soon after the model mile at Granger Park is completed, with both sections expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The third segment will not begin construction until January 2019 – and only then if the SPLOST passes – due to funding, unless the public requests for the council to find funding for the trail at an earlier date. The Friends of the Thread hope that the first phase of the plan – which includes 14 miles of trails which cover primarily points on the east and west sections of the city – will be complete within the next five years.

For more information about the Thread visit www.thethreadtrail.org

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154.