Residents could someday soon walk from downtown Gainesville to the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus after funding was approved for another section of the Highlands to Islands trail system.
The half-mile Tumbling Creek Trail section would connect Atlanta Highway to Landrum Education Drive as part of the planned 54-mile multi-use system.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the project at a March 24 meeting for about $740,000 using funds from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in 2019.
Interim Public Works Director Bill Nash said the Tumbling Creek section will take more than six months to complete. It will include a bridge and boardwalk to cross Balus Creek.
“Once you get that connected, with Gainesville doing the airport connector, then everything is hooked up,” Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix said.
Pilgrim’s Pride made a $785,000 donation to the city in November for a half-mile portion of the airport connector trail, connecting the 2.2-mile downtown path to a 3-mile section that runs through the south of the city along Atlanta Highway.
“Potentially you could go all the way from downtown Gainesville to the college,” said Katie Crumley, a county spokesperson. “These are sort of the two missing pieces.”
The Highlands to Islands system is planned to eventually connect from downtown Gainesville south to Flowery Branch and from Braselton west to Lake Lanier and Flowery Branch.