Floyd County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell and Rome City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter discussed the issue at Thursday’s joint Transportation Policy Committee meeting.
For several years outdoor trail enthusiasts have asked for a link from Rome to the Silver Comet Trail — a 61.5 mile non-motorized path that runs from Polk County to Cobb County.
Opposition, however, came from property owners in the Vann’s Valley area who protested when the trail was set to follow an abandoned rail bed that cut through or near their properties.
Wachsteter suggested Thursday that the Georgia Department of Transportation consider a route that runs along U.S. 411, since they will be working there on a culvert project between Rome and Cave Spring.
Bagwell said he could support the new proposal.
“We are against (the rail bed trail),” Bagwell said. “We’re looking at a different route, along 411, that could work for everyone.”
Trey Smith, who has spearheaded efforts to link to the Silver Comet Trail, said he is excited that they were having a conversation about the possibility.
“The economic impact can’t be ignored anymore,” he said.
Wachsteter agreed that the link to the trail would add another draw to the county.
“This is a good economic stimulus for tourism,” Wachsteter said. “Because other cities on the Silver Comet Trail have done very well with that trail adjacent to their cities.”
Smith said he also hopes the board would look for input as to how to make the trail safe for users.
In other business, Kirk Milam, Rome’s public service manager, said the design for the Crescent Avenue bridge has been submitted to the DOT and is under review.
The old one-lane bridge — the only access to a neighborhood of 37 homes off Cave Spring Road — cannot safely support the weight of fire trucks, school buses and other heavy vehicles.