The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night approved the addition of a series of the trails to its design contract with HDR Engineering. The firm has been hired by the board to design the new Etowah River Park at the end of Brown Industrial Parkway in Canton.
The proposed trail will start at the new park, connect to Heritage Park, which is on Waleska Street near its intersection with Riverstone Parkway, and continue to Boling Park, which is on Marietta Highway next to Cherokee High School. Boling Park already is home to five miles of trails maintained by local Boy Scouts.
"It will take some serious thinking outside the box," Commissioner Jim Hubbard said of the trail design, referring to the geography of the land. "It will go through some pretty rough territory. It is not like going through neighborhoods."
The cost of designing the trail segment is not to exceed $71,000 and will be paid for using parks bond revenues.
The trails are being planned to open in conjunction with the new Etowah River Park in the late summer or fall of 2011.
Commissioner Harry Johnston said the board also is "actively considering" expanding this new network of trails to land on Alison Lane that it purchased last year for a future park.
The board's goal, Hubbard said, is to create trails so residents can walk or bike along the length of the Etowah River in Cherokee.
Canton City Councilman John Beresford said the trails between the three city parks is a positive project for the entire county.
He said the city government has attempted to create an Etowah River trails network for years, adding it was a top priority for him when he took office in January.
Beresford said the trails also will open up opportunities for walkers concerned about being hit by balls or Frisbee by other patrons at city parks.
"This gives them a new avenue for exercise and bike riding," he said.
The trail also will increase access to the Etowah River, Beresford said, as it opens up opportunities to put in launches for canoes.
"It will bring in more people to enjoy the river," he said. "Downtown will benefit from it as people will be coming in looking to get drinks, snacks, maybe lunches and dinners."