Good news abounds for Bulloch County residents wanting to get outside, get fit and view scenery on two wheels or two feet.
The first phase of construction for one the area’s already more popular walking/bicycle trails is virtually complete, and the City of Statesboro announced last week plans to build an entirely new pedestrian path in 2013.
According to Mike Rollins, Director of Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation, approximately 2.7 miles of the planned eight-mile long S&S Greenway, projected to connect Statesboro and the City of Brooklet, is all but set — a final 200 feet of paving will be finished during the next couple of weeks, he said.
The completed first phase of the Greenway now leads from a trail-head on Gentilly Road, under the Veterans Memorial Parkway, to Cawana Road. From Cawana, the path continues along Railroad Bed Road, to a second trail-head at the intersection of Burkhalter Road and Pretoria Rushing Road.
The path lacks only minor landscaping and signage in some areas, but is entirely open to the public, Rollins said.
Work to complete the initial section of pathway was paid for, in large part, by approximately $1 million garnered through several grants awarded to Bulloch County and Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation (SBCPRD), he said.
The Bulloch Greenways Partnership — comprised of the SBCPRD, the Bulloch Greenways Steering Committee, Georgia Southern University and area government agencies — is developing the greenway, and others, to make non-motorized recreation opportunities, such as walking, biking and jogging more convenient for area residents.
Future work on the trail, said Rollins, will continue when funds and county officials allow for it.
Eventually, the trail is expected to stretch from the intersection of Burkhalter and Pretoria Rushing to downtown Brooklet.
While work is coming to an end on Phase 1 of the S&S trail, another pathway is nearing its start-up date.
During an annual budget-planning retreat in downtown Statesboro last week, Mandi Cody, Director of Community Development, said the city hopes to begin work this year on Phase 1 of a new trail located next to Luetta Moore Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A first phase of the project would construct an approximately one-mile-long Luetta Moore Trail behind the existing park, Cody said.
City officials have included $214,096 — grant monies awarded for the greenway — in the 2013 budget to fund the effort.
City staff will attempt to locate and purchase land before advancing the project.
“The (Luetta Moore) trail would link communities located behind the park and, eventually, run back towards downtown,” Cody said. “It is hoped to eventually link into the existing trail system, which includes the Willie McTell Trail Downtown.”
The McTell trail begins in Statesboro’s Memorial Park and continues to East Main St.
A future plan (slated for next year) to construct a sidewalk along Gentilly Road could tie both Statesboro trails into Bulloch County’s S&S Greenway — linking the trails with sidewalks alongside Fair Road.
Cody said she hopes to see work completed on the Luetta Moore during the upcoming fiscal (begins July 1, 2012), pending the acquisition of land.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.