MILTON, Ga. — Residents can help shape the future of Milton’s trails in the coming weeks as the city works to update its trails master plan. The public meetings began last week and run through September.
A Trails Advisory Meeting, comprised of residents, volunteers and city officials, has been established and will also convene to discuss the city’s trails in the coming weeks. Residents will also get their say at meetings which will focus on the trial plan for specific areas of the city. Designers with Kimley-Horn consultants have also met with the Milton Equestrian Advisory Committee for input on potential equine trails.
The input sessions should bear weight for residents. A survey conducted by the city showed that half of all respondents use sidewalks, 42 percent use trails and 77 percent said the city’s trails do not meet their needs.
The public planning process kicked off July 22 at City Hall with around two dozen residents studying maps of the city’s trails and potential areas for connections.
Each resident was asked to rank the importance of trails within and connecting to downtown Crabapple, trails on lands purchased through the Greenspace Bond, safety, trails within and connecting to the Deerfield area or their individual preferences.
Attendees could also use a large printout of Milton to map out where they would like to see trails added or connections made.
The initial meeting of the planning process focused on two specific areas, downtown Crabapple and the city’s Greenspace Bond purchases.
The plan for Crabapple walking paths coincides with the city’s initiative to bolster kids walking to school. Milton was recently chosen as one of four Georgia cities to participate in the 2019 Georgia Tech Smart Cities Challenge. The city will use $50,000 from the program to fund an app designed to help students walk to school in safety.
The city has finalized several Greenspace Bond purchases over the last 19 months, including the 88-acre Cooper Sandy Creek property at Bethany Road and Providence Road and a 106-acre tract along Lackey Road. Both of the properties currently contain logging trails which could be incorporated into the trails plan.
Milton and its residents will continue to fine-tune the plan with discussions on specific areas. The second public meeting will be held Aug. 7 to gather further input for the Crabapple area. Other meetings will include sessions for the Deerfield area, the city’s interior trails and a discussion of the citywide system.
Milton approved 2019 budget updates at its July 22 meeting that will allocate $20,000 for maintaining the trails at Birmingham Park.
A representative with Kimley-Horn said updating the trails master plan includes information gathering, the development of concept trails and creating a priority list and schedule of trail updates. She said Milton could complete these stages by the end of the year.