The popular Chief Richard Taylor Nature Trail in Ringgold will soon go even farther.
During a city council meeting last month, the council approved Mayor Nick Millwood to agree to a $25,000 grant from the Chattanooga-based Lyndhurst Foundation for a nearly mile-long extension of the paved trail. This will be phase two. Phase one started three years ago with the original expansion of the trail which runs along Chickamauga Creek.
"It's going to be a nice, concrete extension, something where people could take wheelchairs, strollers and kids," Millwood said. "[Phase two] will also create a new parking area for people who want to enter the Nature Trail from the new addition."
Millwood said the new portion of the trail will connect the current end point at the city's water treatment plant at 704 Depot St., to the walking bridge across South Chickamauga Creek.
The grant requires a match of roughly $5,000, which will come out of the Parks and Recreation budget, Millwood said. A $25,000 grant from Lyndhurst roughly three years ago enabled the construction of phase one.
Millwood said a timeline for phase two has not yet been determined, but the bidding process for contracting out the construction work will begin soon.
"This is one of the things we've pursued as a quality of life improvement for our community," he said. "We value the Nature Trail we currently have and are always looking to grow it as grant opportunities arise. We have a beautiful creek that comes through our city."
The path also follows a portion of the Trail of Tears, and Millwood said more historical signage and information is a possibility for the extension.
Eventually, said Millwood, the county is interested in creating a trail network connecting the various paths and trails the city currently has, but that would be "complicated," requiring easements or land purchases and additional funding.
"We're doing all we can with what we have at this point," he said. "We'll have to look more into that in the future."