Sumiton Mayor Petey Ellis said recently that the city had finished the paving project and will be applying for further grants to improve the appearance along the side of the track, add lighting and possibly add benches or rest areas along the trail.
On the other end, Dora’s council discussed Tuesday night the potential for new grants to maintain and repair their portion of the track, which is showing its age, more than 10 years after its construction.
Several council members said they had heard complaints from residents who use the trail regularly for walking, running or biking.
There are areas where the fencing has fallen, leaving holes near the side of the track. There are also portions of the track where the base has been washed away and the asphalt is beginning to crumble along the sides.
The five rest areas that dot Dora’s portion of the trail are also showing their age, built along the trail to offer hikers a place for a picnic, to cool off or shelter from a sudden rainstorm, they have roof and structural issues.
The Dora Council expressed an interest in repairing the minor issues so the trail doesn’t deteriorate. Dora Mayor Randy Stephens agreed and said Tuesday that City Clerk Marcy Brown had found a grant the city could apply for to offset the costs and help keep the trail an asset to the community.
Both trails were part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Project that converts old railroad beds to walking tracks and trails using grant money.
Rails-to-Trails is a nationwide nonprofit that began in 1986 and has more than 150,000 members and supporters, according to its website.
The site also said the program has created more than 20,000 miles of rails converted to trails and more than 9,000 more are planned in the near future. This program’s goal is to use the already flat space that previously housed the rail lines to create a space that will encourage residents in surrounding areas to be more active by walking, jogging or biking.