The formation of a new Harlem government committee could result in the creation of walking trails inside the city.
The City Council approved the formation of a Recreation Committee at its monthly meeting on Monday.
"It is to look into the possibility of adding some trails in Harlem," said Jason Rizner, assistant city manager. "That'll be the primary focus of the committee, at least initially."
Officials are considering developing walking trails on more than 100 acres on South Bell Street, formerly owned by Camilla Prather, who died in 2006.
The land is now owned by the CSRA Land Trust, a large private land trust that protects forests, wetlands and open spaces in the area.
"She left it in a land trust to be preserved forever, be greenspace or whatever," said Mayor Bobby Culpepper. "We've never looked at the possibilities."
The citizen committee was formed to explore those possibilities. Culpepper said members have specialized interests and knowledge related to environmental and recreational activities. They'll explore the possibilities of the land development and determine how best to create passive recreation on the property. The committee will research, work with the land trust, and report their findings and recommendations to the city council.
"We need to learn how we can work with them (land trust), what the capabilities are and what the possibilities are," Culpepper said.
The mayor said city officials also are asking the committee to consider a boardwalk-type project, similar to The Trails at Euchee Creek in Grovetown, for an area streambed. The streambed runs near Silver Run Baptist Church and south through the city.
"It is beautiful," he said. "The city owns a lot of the property on that (stream) bottom already. It is perfect for us to develop."
There is no rush on the project, Culpepper said, adding he is eager to begin the process.
"I'm excited," he said. "We've been talking about it for a while. We just need to get started. It may alter (the plan). It may morph into different things. But you've got to get started before you get there."
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