The City of Bainbridge recently received a Recreational Trails Program Grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to be used exclusively for the construction of recreational trails.
The $132,831 grant will allow the City to add approximately 1.5 miles to the existing Nature Trail located at Earle May Boat Basin. Construction began this week near the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce building. The grant will also be used for a pedestrian bridge, lighting along the trail and drainage structures.
The original River Walk plans, proposed in 2012, called for a paved river walk. However, since then city officials have seen examples of other trails that used crushed rock as a trail surface.
“We’ve seen other trails moving from asphalt and concrete to a more natural crushed rock surface,” City Manager Chris Hobby said. “It’s easier to maintain, and from the feedback we’ve received from people who walk and run in the Boat Basin, the crushed rock should be easier on their joints.”
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The trail extension will tie into the existing paved trail near the campground area and will extend along the road beside the animal park. A bridge will be constructed in the near future to allow pedestrians to cross the Boat Basin canal.
The crushed rock trail will continue past the Chamber of Commerce building, down Hatcher Road along the river, and end at Cheney Griffin Park, where the trailhead will be located. The project is projected to be completed this coming Spring.
“The nature trail extension is a work in progress,” Hobby said. “You’ll see city workers start up work on the trail and then pull off to work on other projects when needed.”
The trail extension won’t affect people who want to fish from the banks of the Flint River along Hatcher Street, but visitors will no longer be able to drive their car right next to the river bank, to keep the trail from being damaged, according to the city manager.