Chickamauga, Ga., has edged one step closer to a footpath connecting downtown and the Chicka-mauga Battlefield.
The City Council voted 3 to 1 last week to approve a route taking the 10-foot-wide path from Gordon Avenue along the west side of the rail line to a parking lot on U.S. Highway 27. Future plans link that lot to the battlefield, and the battlefield to Camp Jordan and the Tennessee River.
"It falls in line with a lot of what Chattanooga is trying to do with all of the trails," Chickamauga City Manager John Culpepper said. "We want to be a part of that."
Mr. Culpepper said the 21/2-mile route would be great for recreation but also could help ease traffic congestion if people walk downtown. He also hopes it will be a way for people to get active.
"It's going to help the health of this community," he said. "There's a whole lot of pluses to this trail other than just recreational purposes."
Attempts to reach Councilman Robbie Robertson, who voted against the trail, were unsuccessful Monday.
The route will be funded with $367,000 in federal grants and about $91,000 total from the city and Walker County.
Chickamauga Tourism Director Richard Barclift said some residents had voiced concerns about the trail running behind a few houses. He and Mr. Culpepper said they were concerned about privacy, security and the trail's effect on property values.
Mr. Barclift cited studies that show land values increase and crime does not go up when similar trails were created. Mr. Culpepper said the city has offered to build a vinyl fence and install hedges as a buffer between the path and the homes.
"I really don't see that as being a problem," Mr. Barclift said.
Continue reading by following these links to related stories: