“The National Association of Realtors is actually rating communities on a walkability scale,” Smith said. “People are looking for ways to stay out of their car.”
“These people come in and go to restaurants and shop in local businesses,” Smith told the group.
Curtis Gardner, the Sonny’s Bar-B-Q franchisee in Rome who chairs the committee, said that aside from economic benefits, trails contribute to the quality of life in the community.
Assistant Floyd County Manager Blaine Williams told the group that the county does, in fact, have a trails master plan. Some of the proposed network takes in abandoned railroad right of way, but said acquiring that right of way from the railroads can be a challenging task. “If we don’t acquire them now, they’re gone,” Williams said.
“Whatever we do, we want to stimulate an economic effect,” Smith stressed to the business and industry leaders.