June 17, 2005

VSU plays host to Azalea City Trail Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking Ceremony for new Azalea City Trail June 17

The Valdosta-Lowndes Recreation, Parks and Community Affairs Department broke ground today for a new multi-use trail at an 11 a.m. ceremony on Valdosta State University's campus. Planning for the Azalea City Trail began seven years ago with discussions concerning the need for safe, off-street travel and exercise. Set to be completed within six months, the new 2.7 mile trail will run from the Craig Center to the Vallotton Youth Complex.

"As Valdosta grows it is ever more important for us to ensure that we keep and create outdoor spaces for our citizens as well as provide innovative means for transportation," said Mayor John J. Fretti. "At it's completion, the trail will provide a safe, off-street location where citizens can walk, jog, skate, cycle and push a stroller to their destination while reducing vehicular traffic and becoming healthier in the process." The Department of Transportation awarded $759,000 in funding for the trail through a Transportation Equity Act funding program with the remainder coming from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds. The City of Valdosta applied for DOT funding and was approved in 1999. The trail connects several traffic generators in a line that roughly follows the One Mile Branch creek through Valdosta. The trail links parks, schools, community centers, public and student housing and Valdosta State University, all of which come together to produce increased traffic in a finite area. A total of 16 different linkage points were identified and their connection fulfilled the Department of Transportation's mission to fund effective alternative transportation.

The paved trail will be about 12 feet in width and is designed to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and skaters. The trail
will also feature information signs throughout as well as benches and places to rest.

"We've had a lot of input during the planning process and that has helped to ensure this trail will be enjoyed by everyone," said Eric Hahn, Assistant Director, Valdosta-Lowndes Recreation, Parks and Community Affairs.

The route was chosen with the help of a steering committee that represented each of the four districts the trail passes through, as well as with input from interest groups like walkers, cyclists and senior citizens.

"Many individuals and organizations have come together for this project. Because of their hard work and vision, our citizens can enjoy the high quality of life they deserve," Said Fretti. "The Azalea City Trail is truly a welcome component to a City that is a great place to live, work and play."

For more information contact the Valdosta-Lowndes Recreation, Parks and Community Affairs Department at (229) 259-3507.