Gov. Bentley Awards $1.6 Million in Grants to Improve Trails in Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded $1.6 million in grants to improve recreation opportunities in Alabama.

Funds will be used to build or expand trails at 12 locations. In addition to those grants, Bentley awarded another grant to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to purchase equipment necessary to build and maintain trails at its state parks and install signage and provide maps at state parks which have designated trails.

The grants were awarded from funds made available to the state through the Recreational Trails Program which is a program of the Federal Highway Administration.

“I am excited about the wonderful outdoor projects going on within our state and the enthusiasm surrounding them,” Bentley said. “Alabama is truly an outdoor paradise and trails are a wonderful way to experience the wonders of our state. I am delighted in playing a role in these projects.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants.

“From the sand-swept paths along the coast to the rugged rocky terrain in north Alabama, Alabama’s diverse topography makes for some of the best trails anywhere,” said ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. “I value the partnerships that ADECA has made with communities, volunteers and professionals that make these trails happen and make our communities great. I am pleased that these grants will develop new recreational opportunities.”

Grant recipients and their projects (from north to south Alabama) are:

  • Auburn University– $100,000 to build a 10-mile-long looping trail at the Graham Farm and Nature Center in Jackson County. The farm is managed by the Jackson County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
  • Hodges – $100,000 to build a multi-purpose trail connecting Overton Farm to Rock Bridge Canyon and build a covered arena. The new trail will tie in with 27 miles of existing equestrian trail.
  • Fayette – $100,000 to purchase 2.1 miles of an abandoned railroad line with plans to construct a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose trail along the line from the depot to Taylor Road.
  • Shelby County – $60,000 to build a two-mile long connector trail that will connect several existing multi-purpose use trails at Oak Mountain State Park.
  • Pelham – $80,000 to develop a portion of an overall greenway and trail system connecting neighborhoods, civic buildings, school and parks. This phase will develop a trailhead at Pelham City Park including a 6.4-mile trail with parking, water fountains, picnic areas and benches.
  • Columbiana – $393,975 to work with the Historic Shelby Association and other local governments to construct the 5-mile-long Rascal Rail Trail from the city to the Shelby Iron Works Parks along a Civil War-era railroad bed.
  • Montevallo – $100,000 to construct a trailhead pavilion, restrooms and signage along a portion of 167 acres recently donated to the city.
  • Chilton County – $275,000 to purchase an additional 80 acres and construct new trails for motorized vehicles on property adjacent to Minooka Park near Jemison and to construct a bathhouse at the recreational vehicle campground.
  • Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association – $87,429 for improvements at its Smith Mountain Trail and Lookout Tower in Tallapoosa County. Funds will be used to improve trail signage, rebuild a CCC building at the foot of the tower for use as an educational center, and expand the number of trails.
  • Montgomery County – $100,000 to construct a nearly one-mile-long paved and compacted gravel multi-use trail on 110 acres off the Old Selma Road. In addition to the 12-foot wide trail, a parking area and access road will be constructed.
  • The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Parks Division – $78,400 to supply maps and trail information and install signage to encourage increased use of trails at state parks and enhance trail knowledge and safety. Funds will also be used to provide trail maintenance equipment to keep up trails and build news.

Bentley previously announced two of the grants during recent community visits:

  • Section – $35,000 to pave and provide other upgrades for a .33-mile-long walking trail at Weatherton Park.
  • Sumiton -$100,000 to install lighting along the city’s multi-purpose trail which connects with the Dora city trail.

ADECA manages a wide range of grants and programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

Categories: Montgomery, News, Statewide