The nonprofit has taken donations to help start the construction of a proposed Redmond Trail in Rome and provided the foundation of volunteers who have helped carve dirt trails on Jackson Hill.
TRED, or Trails for Recreation and Economic Development, was created out of the need to save the Redmond Trail project from being eliminated.
The planned path for the Redmond Trail would connect the Heritage Trail system outlet off Avenue A with Tolbert Park.
“Rome is such a destination for people who enjoy trails,” said Julie Smith, board president of TRED.
“And … what an incredible way for folks to bike from downtown to the post office. It goes along with what we promote, which is alternate forms of transportation and quality of life.”
A $400,000 state grant to Floyd County was in jeopardy when Julie and her husband, Trey Smith, who own Cycle Therapy, got the local bike community together to try and find a way to keep the grant money in Rome and Floyd County.
With the county required to pay approximately $100,000 in matching funds, TRED got pledges to help offset the match, along with a commitment from the City of Rome for $37,000 for engineering costs.
“Our goal was $60,000,” Julie Smith said. “We have raised almost all of that through private and corporate donations. We’ve gotten a really great response.”
“With economy the way it is, we understand that it’s hard to spend money, but it has been proven in thousands of communities all over the country get a payback from trails,” Trey Smith said.
Trey Smith has been working with a group of people who helped found TRED in a project that was initiated by a request from the city to see if they could build some trails in the woods atop Jackson Hill.
“We checked it out and mapped it out with GPS,” Trey said. Then we all came back and were excited about this unbelievable diamond in the rough as far as the terrain and what we could develop there.”
With Jackson Hill nestled near the center of town, it is a unique place to have between three and five miles of mountain bike trails, but that is exactly what the group has built.
“It was an opportunity to do a different type of trail than what we already had,” Trey said. “There are two guys from Cartersville working on Jackson Hill right now who are not even from this county. They realize what a gem is there as far as mountain bike trails go.”
Jackson Hill is not just for mountain bikes, Trey points out. He and others see people hiking on the trails and don’t think the work has gotten out locally that the trails are there.
Volunteers are still working on the trails, with recent efforts concentrating on turning a portion of it into a free ride section that includes obstacles and dirt jumps.