According to County Administrator Guy Singletary, the Emanuel County Commissioners will be presented a plan to adopt a resolution at the November 20 meeting showing they will not support the Georgia Hi-Lo Trail Project.
“The board has been clear from the beginning that they do not support the trail as it has been presented. The commissioners agreed to participate in a bike study a few years ago, and we have participated in a few meetings. Every meeting we have ever had with the Hi-Lo group has included us voicing serious concerns about their plan. I have been a part of several interviews with news agencies, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In every instance, we have been contacted because they know that our commissioners oppose the plan, and they want to hear an opposing view point. Our position has been clear from the beginning, but we are not privileged to all of the information that this group is putting together, and many times we are finding out about their ideas at the same time as the Emanuel County Citizens. We cannot stop members of their committee from coming to speak to groups in Emanuel, nor can we stop people from biking on our existing county road system,” stated Administrator Singletary.
The Georgia Hi-Lo Trail project was formed by Mary Charles Howard, Founder and Executive Director. Her goal is to form a 211 mile, road-separated 12-foot wide paved trail from Athens to Savannah for bicycle riders. The estimated cost is approximately $1 million per mile. That will put the total cost over $200 million, and that’s assuming state and local governments and private citizens would donate easements for the trail. According to Howard, paving the trail, rather than having a crushed rock path, will reduce long-term maintenance costs local governments would be responsible for. Howard says federal and state grants set aside specifically for trails could cover 75% of the Georgia Hi-Lo’s construction costs. But local governments along the trail and potential donors would still need to come up with millions of dollars in cash, in-kind services and land donations. After the trail is built, local communities would be responsible for the costs of maintenance, from cutting grass to cleaning up litter.
In September, Howard spoke to the Swainsboro Exchange Club about the project. Visit The Frederick News-Post - A Georgia woman’s audacious plan: Build longest US paved bike trail to read the article.