COLUMBUS, Ga. — One local foundation is giving new meaning to connecting the community in Columbus.
About three years ago, the Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation began plans for building 70 miles of trails connecting several areas of the city.
The Dragonfly Trail is a network of off-road, green way trails that connects several neighborhoods, and about 30 miles are already in place.
“We see huge success in communities that have great trail networks for in-town revitalization and economic development,” said Betsy Covington, president and CEO of the Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation.
Part of the plan is to bring even more people to the River Walk, and give them a different way to get there.
“People want opportunities to move around in communities that don’t involve cars and the Dragonfly fits right into that,” Covington said.
Bruce Sellers bikes everyday and is a part-time sales associate at Ride on Bikes.
“Well I commute by bike and I do all my errands by bike and it’s just easier. Much easier to do so,” Sellers said.
One factor that can’t be ignored is the cost for this large-scale project.
The construction work is being paid for by a piece of legislation from the late 1990s, which paid for the Fall Line Trace, a series of walk and bike trails. Each segment is going to be funded individually.
How each segment will be paid for is unclear and much it will cost is unclear, but the burden so far is not placed on taxpayers such as Bruce Sellers.
“Well it allows you to go from point A to point B. You can do some shopping and you can ride with your family,” Sellers said. “When you got more people riding bikes and people are out getting exercise and enjoying getting some fresh air, it just makes things so much better.”
For Columbus 2025, the long-range plan for the city, one of the five major action areas is vibrant and connected places.
It’s that connection Betsy Covington is so committed to creating with the trail.
“I’m going to be interested in seeing how people discover parts of the community that they maybe didn’t even know existed, maybe they haven’t been to before,” Covington said. “The more we can learn about people who are different from us but are still citizens here in our community the better off we’ll all be.”