TCID works on trail system to provide health, transportation options
by Jennifer Hafer
August 05, 2013 12:00 AM | 934 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TCAID Executive Director Lanie Shipp stands on the path, which she believes will make the area more pedestrian-friendly and create a sense of community. (Staff/Jennifer Carter)
TCAID Executive Director Lanie Shipp stands on the path, which she believes will make the area more pedestrian-friendly and create a sense of community. (Staff/Jennifer Carter)
TOWN CENTER - As employers across the country look for new and innovative ways to curb employee health care costs, such as on-site gyms and health clinics, businesses in the Town Center Area Community Improvement District have a new option for promoting healthy living: a network of trails running from Kennesaw Mountain to Bells Ferry Road.

"In an effort to make the Town Center area a more pedestrian-friendly environment, connectivity through sidewalks and multi-use paths are essential," said TCACID Executive Director Lanie Shipp. "The health benefits of walking and biking are encouraged by many businesses. New and existing companies find the accessibility of a network of paths an additional benefit to their employees."

The Noonday Creek multi-use trail is a continuation of the existing Mountain to River Trail that currently ends at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. When completed next summer, the trail will extend eastward to Bells Ferry Road, with long-term plans calling for the trail to continue into Cherokee County and on to the Appalachian Trail. The completed trail in Cobb County will be seven miles length, boasting five pedestrian bridges and two trail heads. Students at nearby Kennesaw State University, hotel guests, mall operators and office park employees are all intended users of the trail.

On a hot July day, TSYS employee and Marietta resident David Gallion got up from his desk, changed into his workout gear, walked out the front door of his office building and onto the Noonday Creek Trail on Vaughn Road.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s great!”

Gallion, who walks three to four times a week, said he would still work out if the trail wasn’t available, but its ease and location make coming up with excuses not to exercise a little harder.

“It’s so convenient,” he said. “I can walk and go back to work feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of the day.”

For TCACID Project Manager Robert Maddux, the trail is a “no- brainer” for walkers and joggers, but he hopes the trail transcends traditional usage.

Maddux, along with TCACID Chairman Mason Zimmerman, recently rode the entire trail, including the unfinished section, and documented the ride with a helmet cam perched on the front of his mountain bike.

“My hope for the trail is that it becomes more than a jogging path and becomes a pedestrian and bicycle connection between retail buildings and office parks,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer for recreational purposes, so I think that if it could take the next step from a transportation standpoint and provide real access for the area for walking or biking, I think that would be a huge asset to the Town Center area.”

As the lead agency on the project, the TCACID provided almost $1 million in funding to design the Noonday Creek Trail. It is also providing some construction funding for the last phase of the trail, bringing the organization’s total investment in the project to $3,590,833.

“Trails and multi-use paths are enhancements to a community,” Shipp said. “Connectivity opens up opportunities for paths to be used as an alternative to driving.

“Being able to provide accessibility by bike to GRTA and CCT allows even more value and benefits.”

The Town Center Area Community Improvement District was established in 1997 as a self-taxing district to promote infrastructure improvements.

Commercial properties in the TCACID pay an additional 5 mills on their property tax to advance road projects, sidewalks and other improvements to provide accessibility and mobility within the Town Center area.

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