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How to provide input about new trails in Gainesville and South Hall
Study identifies possible new trails in Gainesville, South Hall
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The City of Gainesville is planning to connect the Midtown Greenway to the Highlands to Islands Trail. - photo by David Barnes

A study on trails and multi-use paths in Gainesville and South Hall is almost finished, and residents can provide input on the drafts for the trail projects at a meeting on Nov. 1.

The studies were funded by a federal grant the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization received in 2017.

Britt Storck of Atlanta-based Alta Planning and Design, the firm hired for the studies, said October and November will be used to gather more public input from residents and local government officials before the plans are finalized.

About 175 people have filled out comment forms at static exhibits and at the Spring Chicken Festival in April, Storck said.

Priorities for the draft plan include a side path along the north end of Thurmon Tanner Parkway, along Spout Springs Road and trails in the Flat Creek and Tumbling Creek areas.

Other sections of Thurmon Tanner Parkway have been identified as possible new trail locations, but the northern side has been identified in the draft plan as the top priority. McEver and Mundy Mill Roads could also get paths along the side of the roads.

The study prioritized trails based on the number of road crossings that may create conflicts, the population in the area that could be served, and proximity to parks and schools.

The proposed Airport Connector, which is in the second priority tier in the draft plan, would connect the existing Midtown Greenway and Palmour Drive connector. The trail would run along Aviation Boulevard, pass below the Queen City Parkway bridge, continue along Georgia Avenue, cross the railroad track, and connect to the Midtown Greenway.

That project would include changing Aviation Boulevard from a four-lane to three-lane road so one of the westbound lanes could be used as a trail. The Airport Connector would be about 1.2 miles long.

The draft plan also includes two new trailheads, at the corner of Thurmon Tanner Parkway and Phil Niekro Boulevard and on Old Flowery Branch Road at the service drive entrance to the water treatment plant.

Once the plans are finalized, they will be presented to the Hall County Board of Commissioners. Funding sources still need to be identified but could include grants and capital funds from the county or municipalities.

People can learn more about the proposals and provide their input at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at Spout Springs Library on Nov. 1. A Spanish translator will be available at the event.

Gainesville and South Hall trail studies open house

What: Learn more about proposed walking and biking trails in Gainesville and South Hall

When: 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1

Where: Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch