A local advocacy group wants to connect the Atlanta BeltLine with the Silver Comet Trail, which means that one day Atlantans could, technically, walk from Atlanta to Alabama.
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The Silver Comet trail stretches about 60 miles through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties and across the Georgia-Alabama state line. There is only about 6 miles between that trail and the Atlanta BeltLine.
Right now, CSX, a railroad company, owns a corridor of that land, which would be included in the connecting trail.
Georgia advocacy group Connect The Comet delivered a petition to Gov. Nathan Deal last week to focus his attention on this trail development.
“We’re hoping that the governor can reason with CSX to abandon the corridor so that local interest can put the money together and acquire it from them and convert it,” said Ed McBrayer, the executive director of the PATH Foundation, which developed the Silver Comet Trail and partners with the Atlanta BeltLine.
Michael Justus, director of the Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department, said the trail could help his county’s economy.
“If we can tie that thing in and take it all the way from Atlanta to Alabama, I don’t see it being anything but a positive for tourism and for the cyclists and walkers that are taking advantage of it,” Justus said.
A spokesperson for CSX said it often works with nonprofits on rails-to-trails projects, but it doesn’t have a specific stance on this project for now.
Even if CSX agrees to abandon their corridor of land, it will take more than four or five years to construct and open this connecting trail to the public, McBrayer said.