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Mulberry RiverWalks repairs hinge on grants arrival
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BRASELTON — The damage Braselton’s Mulberry RiverWalk sustained from flooding late last year will now take longer than expected to fix.

On Oct. 12, heavy rains and flooding damaged much of the 2.3-mile trail, which put Braselton’s main sewer transmission line at risk.

In response, the Braselton Town Council voted in November to apply for a $50,000 Immediate Threat and Danger Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to remedy the damage.

Braselton Town Manager Jennifer Dees previously estimated the RiverWalk would be reopened to the public no later than February, but the trail remains closed.

"We don’t want to do any work because typically if you do work and (then) get a grant, they won’t actually reimburse you for any work you did," she said.

However, repairs could start soon.

Braselton received verbal confirmation on Tuesday that the DCA will award a $25,000 matching grant to help with repairs, Dees said. She said the town expects to receive the paperwork for the grant this week.

The DCA program provides 50 percent matching funds to communities to help remedy "development activities having a particular urgency when existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community," according to its Web site.

The rains flooded at least 90 percent of Phase I of the RiverWalk and the trail remained submerged for at least two days, Dees previously said. During that time, mulch lining the path washed away and trees toppled into the river, which caused the riverbank to move in some places and washed away some of the trail. Additionally, high water levels eroded the riverbank, which caused sinkholes.

The town’s main sewer line, which travels both underneath and adjacent to the trail, is now in danger due to the damage.

Dees said she estimates it will cost at least $50,000 to reopen the RiverWalk. The repairs will be a joint effort between the Braselton Visitors Bureau, which maintains the RiverWalk, and the public works department, which maintains the sewer line.

Finished in 2005, Phase I of the RiverWalk was built using a $100,000 federal grant from the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

Construction on Phase II of the project has begun. When finished, the trail will reach 5.75 miles and its terminus will be on Ga. 124. Phase II is being funded through a $100,000 state grant.

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