Chimney Park, the hidden outdoor gem behind the Covington Branch Library, is getting another nice boost as a long-awaited pedestrian trail now snakes through its woods.
Work is moving quickly on the library to Eastside High School trail, and the first leg of the trail, which goes through Chimney Park, will have its ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 2 at the park. The ribbon cutting will precede the annual Twilights at Chimney Park festival.
If everything goes to plan, that portion will already have benches and trash cans in place thanks to a $6,680.71 donation to local nonprofit Newton Trails courtesy of the Southern Bicycle League, which donated the money from the profits it received by putting on the Covington Century Bike Ride. Eventually, the trail could also have bike racks and containers with dog bags to make the trail more pet-friendly.
"The county and city pretty had much bare bones to get these things cleared, graded, paved and built, so we had committed from day one to help with the amenities," said Newton Trails Chairman Maurice Carter.
The trail will eventually be 2.6 miles in the length, but the first portion will wind through Chimney Park, an urban park in between Floyd and Martin streets. The remainder of the trail is expected to be finished in the coming months.
The Covington Century ride has been around for decades, but it went dormant for two years, before the Southern Bicycle League resurrected it this past August. The ride will be scheduled for the first Saturday in August every year.
"The Southern Bicycle League really wanted to bring it back because people were clamoring for it, and I guess it just didn't work out the past two years," said Charlotte Kuehn, an area resident and representative of the league. "We had a lot of help and managed to get almost 1,000 people to sign up. Even though the forecast was a torrential downpour, we had 936 souls who braved the bad weather. So, I think next year, if we have good weather, we'll double that easily."
Kuehn said there has been talk of making the bike ride a weekend event next year, which could provide a tourism boost as more visitors stayed in the area's hotels.
If any person or business would like to donate to Newton Trails, including having a bench named in honor of someone or a company, they can do so through PayPal, by clicking on the "Donate" button at newtontrails.org.
In addition to the donation to Newton Trails, the Southern Bicycle League donated the other half of the proceeds to animal rescue groups Pound Puppies ‘N Kittens, which has a local presence, and Conyers-based Hometown Animal Rescue.
The donations fell under the theme of "Trails and Tails," which is also the name of Kuehn's organization, which will soon become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, she said.