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GE donates $5,000 for trail work in West Rome

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A group organizing biking and walking trails on land donated to the city of Rome by General Electric got some more help from the company Thursday.

Rome GE executive Cody Platt presented Trails for Recreation and Economic Development officials with a check for $5,000.

The money will be used for the advancement of walking and biking trails at the park being generated on the 123-acre tract.

“A portion will likely be set aside for ongoing maintenance of the trails,” said TRED President Julie Smith.

Some of the funds are also slated to be used for the development of a changing area and an elevated composting toilet.

An 8-foot-by-8-foot kiosk with maps of the trails, and usage signs will also be constructed.

“We’ve enjoyed our relationship with TRED for the last several years and view them as a great partner in the community,” Platt said. “They’ve done a great job with trail development and encouraging lots of recreational opportunities for the community.”

Volunteers have essentially completed four miles of bike trails through the woods and a one-mile walking loop. Smith said plans are to build another mile of single-track trail for bike use.

“We intend to continually upgrade the trails and maintain them,” she said. “We trust the city will be able to continue to provide help, in the form of occasional prison crews for work and cleanup.”

Harry Brock said volunteers, led by Billy Nicholson, have pretty much finished work on seven mountain bike bridges across drainage ditches on the property. Another larger bridge on the hiking trail crosses a wetland area created by a beaver dam.

Prison crews have also been active in the work on the trails, cutting fallen pine trees in half to create single-track obstacles for the more experienced riders.

“The (biking) trails will be suitable for novice-to- intermediate riders, but will also offer several challenging features that advanced riders will enjoy,” Smith said.

All of the trails will be color coded based on the level of difficulty.

The primary trailhead will be located at the woodline east of the old GE medium transformer plant on Redmond Circle. People seeking to use the trail would come in at the main entrance to the GE plant and then turn left and go through a long parking lot to access the trailhead.

Brock and Smith said a tentative ribbon cutting for the trail network has been set for Feb. 18.