MILTON, Ga. — Plans to bring a new trail to Providence Park are still a go, but the path will take a different direction to comply with a grant that will pay a large chunk of the projected cost.
The city received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources to construct a new trail at the 42-acre park. The stipulations of the grant say it must be at least one-half mile in length, 8-feet wide and paved. No issues there for the city, but another requirement is that it must be ADA accessible with a grade of less than 5 percent, and that has caused some headaches.
“That posed a challenge for us because we have significant grades out at Providence Park…it drops like a rock,” Public Works Director Robert Drewry told the City Council at its Nov. 9 work session.
Drewry noted there is an 80-foot elevation drop from the parking area, where the trail will begin, to Providence Lake.
The updated trail will now undulate through the central portions of the park with several switchbacks. Scott Reese of Brumbelow-Reese and Associates, the firm Milton hired to engineer the trails, equated the path’s new waving design to skiers weaving to slow their pace. In this instance, that weaving eases the severity of the trail’s grade.
Despite the furrows of the trail, Reese said the path will still have natural separation between points.
“We’ve got a little more switchback than we had originally hoped, but we’ve separated the trail enough, in our opinion, that as you are walking you will have the woodland experience,” he said.
Reese added the trails direction was also influenced by removing as few trees as possible. He said most of the required grading to construct the trail will be done outside of the hardwood-forested area.
The paved trail, which includes two portions of boardwalk, will begin at the parking area and run downhill to Providence Lake.
The estimated price tag for the path is $362,000 with the state grant covering $200,000 of the cost.
Two other grants will help fund other amenities, which will be constructed simultaneously with the new trail. The city has also received outside funding for a bathroom facility adjacent to the parking area and a pier on Providence Lake.
City Architect Bob Buscemi showed renderings of the two facilities at the meeting.
While there is no set completion date for the projects now, construction must be complete by the end of next year under the conditions of the grants.
The two existing trails at the park will be relatively unchanged. The red trail on the western portion of the property will run a similar path, but the trail will be redirected farther from the park’s western border, which abuts residential lots, at several points. The blue trail on the east side of Providence will remain as is.