Work is finally underway on the first section of the Redmond Trail, which will connect Mount Berry Trail, behind the post office, to the trail on the levee behind Avenue A.

Lewallen Construction got the notice to proceed with work on the 0.26-mile section Monday.

On Tuesday, community leaders joined to break ground for the trail that has been a decade in the making.

“The best projects we have in Rome and Floyd County are public-private partnerships,” said County Commission Chair Wright Bagby.

He noted that the nonprofit TRED was formed to partner with the county on the Redmond Trail and raised $44,000 in two months to cover the shortfall in the local match for a state grant.

The trail advocacy organization stepped up to the plate again to help cover the construction cost overrun. The project was expected to cost close to $500,000 a decade ago but the final bid came in earlier this year at $838,153.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, TRED Executive Director Julie Smith presented a $25,000 check to Bruce Ivey, head of the county’s Utilities and Transportation Division.

“Oh my gosh, this is really happening,” Smith said. “It’s so nice that this is finally going to happen. I can’t wait for the ribbon-cutting, hopefully in the spring.”

No one from Lewallen spoke during the ceremony but crews were already at work on the erosion control fencing to keep sediment out of Little Dry Creek during construction.

A bridge over Little Dry Creek will be one of the major components of the new trail. The timing of completion will depend in large part on how much of that work can be done before winter rains and the inevitable backwater flooding from the Oostanaula River raise water levels in the creek.

According to Jonathan Cash, project manager for Lewallen, the trail will come off of the levee and follow a sewer line under the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle. It will make a hard left between the trestle and Little Dry Creek for approximately 200 feet beforeit crosses the creek and angles northwest join the Mount Berry Trail.

Smith said one of TRED’s primary objectives is to connect neighborhoods like Summerville Park.

“So many of our neighbors don’t have access to cars and we know that,” Smith said. “We’re helping create those safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists who would otherwise need cars for transportation.”

The second phase of the Redmond Trail will cross Martha Berry Boulevard at the post office and follow an abandoned rail line through Summerville Park to Redmond Circle behind the Coosa Valley Credit Union. A timetable for the section of the trail has not been disclosed.

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