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Happier trails could be on the way to South Hall
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With the help of a state grant, a South Hall park might soon be getting a makeover.

Hall County is applying for a grant through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for the Williams Mill Greenspace Park on Blackjack Road.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote today on whether to approve the 2007 Recreational Trails Grant.

The main purpose of the program "is to provide and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities," said Jenise Proctor, grants manager for Hall County.

The funds from the program will allow Hall County Parks and Leisure Services to stabilize and pave a 1.5 mile segment at Williams Mill Greenspace, as well as complete a proposed Americans with Disabilities Act trail expansion.

In addition, the proposed trail will be designed to enhance areas for optimum wildlife opportunities.

"We want to put a hard surface on the 1.5 mile trail," said Bob Gentile, assistant director of parks and leisure services. "Right now the most convenient trail to use is the handicapped trail because it’s got a hard surface on it."

The county has until Nov. 30 to submit its grant application. They are asking DNR for $100,000, and the county plans to contribute $25,000.

With $12,500 in in-kind services, the county will have a total of $137,500 to spend on the project.

The county applied in 2002 for the same grant and received $65,000 and completed a portion of the Williams Mill Greenspace trail with that money, Proctor said.

Two years ago, Gentile said the county applied for the grant, initially to be used for trail development.

As it turned out, the majority of the grant was used to build two steel bridges to cross the park’s stream, as well as three viewing platforms.

A stone base was put down on the 1.5 mile trail, which Gentile hopes to finish if the grant is awarded.

"We’re also trying, with this grant, to extend the handicapped part of the trail," he said.

With the county’s $25,000 match, Gentile said they also would like to put in two more viewing platforms.

"It just gives you a pleasant view of the property," he said.