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Trails extending in Grovetown, beginning in Harlem

Posted: February 5, 2014 - 12:13am  |  Updated: February 6, 2014 - 5:15pm
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CSRA Regional Commission Regional Planner Jason Hardin presents a Greenways Trails Connections master plan to Harlem officials on Jan. 27.   Photo By Valerie Rowell
Photo By Valerie Rowell
CSRA Regional Commission Regional Planner Jason Hardin presents a Greenways Trails Connections master plan to Harlem officials on Jan. 27.

 

Grovetown’s scenic outdoor trail system is expanding while Harlem officials are considering creating one.

The Trails at Euchee Creek is a popular Grovetown attraction for walkers, runners and families.

Even in less than ideal weather, City Administrator Shirley Beasley said, “There will be people there. People from all over, especially on this side of the county. It’s not just people from the city of Grovetown who use it.”

The park, which opened in the spring of 2004 on 44.7 acres of land bordering Euchee Creek at Harlem-Grovetown Road, includes more than 2 miles of trails, a rock den, a parking area, a 100-foot-deep stocked pond, a 300-foot bridge, rock outcroppings, picnic areas and an overlook. Fishing is allowed, but swimming is not.

During a second phase in 2006, the trails were expanded to Wrightsboro Road and restrooms and a paved parking lot were added.

Planning for a third phase began in 2007 on a 54-acre property off Reynolds Farm Road backing up to Grove Landing subdivision. Bids for the project were opened in July, but both were more than three times the $362,000 budget.

“We had to kind of scale it back to bare basics, just the trail itself,” Beasley said. A pavilion with restrooms and resting areas with benches were cut out of the expansion but will likely be considered as part of future improvements.

The third-phase improvements will cost about $650,000 – $500,000 from a state Transportation Enhancement grant and about $125,000 in matching city funds from the one-cent sales tax.

A fourth phase, which will take the trails close to Harlem-Grovetown Road, is in the planning stage. The newest section of the trails will not connect to the existing trails because plans for crossing Harlem-Grovetown Road haven’t been designed or funded.

“That is our goal, to eventually connect them,” Public Works Director Michael Woods said.

The goal of Harlem officials is to create a similar trail system within the city.

“The goal is to create an interconnected network,” said CSRA Regional Commission Regional Planner Jason Hardin.

City officials hired the commission to come up with a plan to create a trail network as an added amenity for current residents and to help draw new ones. Hardin presented the plan to them on Jan. 27.

“There really is the potential for Harlem to set itself apart in some way,” Hardin said.

The plan proposes a trail system that, when complete, would include access from most areas of the city. It also includes access to subdivisions.

“Really residents in all parts of the city can have easy access to these kinds of facilities,” Hardin said.

City Administrator Jason Rizner said a public meeting will likely be held in February and the plan can go before city officials for adoption at the monthly meeting in February. Then, city officials will have a “road map” of the proposed trail system and can take advantage of funding opportunities as they arise.

Though there is not a proposed time frame for the project, the first trail constructed will likely be along Sandy Run Creek in the southeast area of town. If the city is approved for a Georgia Recreational Trails grant, Rizner said the trail could possibly be built in 12 to 18 months. He also said some one cent sales tax funds are available for that project.

“I think it’s a really scenic area; I think a lot of people don’t know it’s there,” Rizner said.

Though the city already owns a lot of land available for trails, city officials still need to acquire some land and easements from utility companies and some residents.

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