The city was selected to receive a $91,340 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which awarded more than $2 million in trail grants to agencies throughout the state last April. Assuming the City Council officially accepts the grant Monday, officials will use the money to construct the Whispering Lake-Church Trail section of the Community Wide Trail project.
The Whispering Lake-Church Trail is the third of at least four sections of the 3-mile trail, which will connect neighborhoods from Jiles Road to downtown Kennesaw.
The Whispering Lake-Church Trail begins at Whitfield Place off North Main Street, near First Baptist Church of Kennesaw, and stretches north to Matlock Drive off Moon Station Road. It will be 1,500 feet of bare earth and crushed stone through a mostly wooded area for walkers and cyclists. No motorized vehicles will be allowed, according to the city.
“It’s a combination of really two trails that we made into one,” said Doug Taylor, city parks and recreation director. “One crosses First Baptist property and the other goes into the Whispering Lake development.”
The city is awaiting notice to proceed with the project from the state Department of Natural Resources before it can send out construction bids. The city is matching the grant with $22,385 to fund the remaining cost of the project.
Construction of the Whispering Lake-Church Trail will likely begin in early May and be completed in August, Taylor said.
The entire Community Wide Trail Project is being developed in phases to connect downtown with Legacy Park and surrounding neighborhoods, Kennesaw State University and Kennesaw Mountain High School. The two previous sections of the trail system, Deerfield Trail and Winchester Forest Trail, were completed within the past five years.
It’s all an effort to allow more residents to be able to walk to downtown for events and other activities, Taylor said.
“It’s also for exercise and fitness,” he said. “The No. 1 activity in the U.S. is walking and has been for a while. There are some pretty nice natural sites along the creek and bridges.”
After the Whispering Lake-Church Trail section is finished, the city hopes to begin construction of the following section, Matlock Trail, later this year. The state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing that project.
When completed, the trail system will include small picnic pavilions, bridges, multi-purpose trails, soft surface trails and parking. Officials envision the trail system connecting to other regional trail systems, including the Silver Comet Trail, Noonday Creek Trail, Kennesaw Mountain and Lake Allatoona.
“Trails are very popular, and they’re also inexpensive to build and inexpensive to use,” Georgia State Parks Director Becky Kelley said. “The investments we make in these facilities pay back the public in good health, attractive and useable land and dynamic local economies.”