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Posted: August 1, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Oxford trail extended by 1,100 feet

Brittany Thomas/

The Oxford community continues to pursue its goal of creating an extensive multi-use trail system and recently added another 1,100 feet of paved path, or two-tenths of a mile.

As in previous years, the additional section was a joint effort between the City of Oxford and non-profit Newton County Trails-Path Foundation; the two groups evenly split the $40,000 cost. Oxford business Designed Installations by Jim Williams did the work.

Newton Trails Chairman Maurice Carter said his organization relies almost completely on public contributions, and many residents who donated to the latest section of trail, as well as the previous one mile of paved trail, have had their names engraved on bricks in the trail. Each brick costs $350.

"If people enjoy visiting the trail in Oxford, I hope they'll remember a few names from some of those bricks in the trail and go thank those folks for making this possible. And, the Newton County Trail PATH Foundation board greatly appreciates the partnership of the Mayor and the Oxford Town Council on this project," Carter said in an e-mail.

The total length of paved trail in Oxford is now 1.2 miles, Carter said. According to newtontrails.org, the first paved trail in Oxford was laid in 2005, a one-third mile section from West Clark Street to West Soule Street and along the Fletcher Street right of way behind Old Church on Wesley Street. According to the website, the organization hopes to eventually create a five-mile loop around Oxford, which would connect Palmer Stone Elementary School, Cousins Middle School and Oxford College.

Carter said the latest section begins near a small wetlands area and travels uphill through a wooded section, ending at a water tower. He said as an active bicyclist himself, the Oxford trail is particularly nice because it provides both scenery and cover from the sun.

He said despite the fact the Oxford trail has been around for years, even many walkers, joggers and bicyclists don't know it exists. He has begun adding the Oxford trail onto the monthly Covington-Newton County's Community Bike Ride, which takes place every first Sunday of the month, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Newton County Visitor Center on Clark Street.

In related news, the Conyers City Council recently approved building a multi-use trail through the heart of Olde Town. The two-mile section is expected to cost $600,000, with the city contributing $550,000 of SPLOST money, and the Atlanta-based, non-profit PATH Foundation contributing $50,000. The trail is expected to be completed by June.

Eddie Shirey, chairman of Covington Conyers Cycling Club, said this is the first multi-use trail to be built in the City of Conyers and is one of four portions planned for the future. He said the support for this trail goes back more than five years to a stakeholder study in which residents said they wanted more passive-use recreation options.

He said this trail ties into several other projects around Metro Atlanta that could eventually tie the Silver Comet Trail through Atlanta to the Arabia Mountain Trail and on through Conyers and Covington. Shirey said the Silver Comet is already the longest paved multi-use trail and an attraction for cyclists and hikers, but if all of these trails were tied together it would bring even more tourists.

"People from our Conyers, Covington club have gone to Portland, Ore., Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Europe to ride on bike paths and roads friendly to cyclists. People here in Conyers underestimate the huge effect that path could have on tourism and economic development," Shirey said.

He stressed the trail will be a multi-use path for walkers, joggers and even horse riders.

Rockdale News Editor Michelle Kim contributed to this story.


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