Work begins on walking track
by Rachel Davis
May 17, 2014 | 1892 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — Construction crews have begun clearing and grating the path for Sumiton’s new walking track. The track will be constructed using funds from a grant called “Rails-to-Trails” that is aimed at converting old railroad lines into trails and spaces to make the surrounding communities healthier.

Sumiton Mayor Petey Ellis said he was excited to finally have the project underway.

The trail will join the existing Dora walking track at Highway 78 and will wind through the area near Sumiton Elementary School and a residential area, ending at State Street, next to Bevill State Community College. At State Street, the city’s previously completed sidewalk project (also provided by grant money) will enable many walkers to continue through the city and all the way to Bryan Road to the community center or WalMart, if they like, Ellis said.

The Sumiton track will cover approximately one mile, but it will adjoin the Dora track that is approximately 2.5 miles long. That track ends near T.S. Boyd Elementary School and includes more than two miles of paved track, a one-mile nature trail and several covered rest areas along the way, according to the website.

Ellis said he believed the project was slated to take approximately 90 days to complete, if the weather cooperates.

Ellis also said Sumiton would be applying for additional grants to put lighting and other features along the trail once the track nears completion. The track must be mostly completed before the city is eligible to apply for those grants, according to Ellis.

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 program has currently 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.