FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Coca-Cola North America
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA GIFT SUPPORTS COMPLETION OF ALABAMA/GEORGIA CROSS-BORDER TRAIL CONNECTION
Gift to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to Serve as Catalyst for Completion of Trail Linking the Two States, as well as a Gateway Park at State Line
ATLANTA, JUNE 26, 2006—The dream of bicyclists, runners and walkers of making their way from Atlanta to Anniston, Ala., on a single, uninterrupted trail moved closer to reality today with the announcement of a $100,000 grant from Coca-Cola North America. The grant will be used help to close an eight-mile gap in the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trail and build a picturesque gateway park at the state line.
Designed with the needs of cyclists and hikers in mind, the gateway park will feature bicycle racks, picnic tables, restrooms, a covered pavilion that will house information, maps and brochures and a payphone. The gateway park is expected to be complete by early 2007.
"We've met; we've talked; we've planned; we've dreamed; but it's taken this refreshing financial splash from Coca-Cola to help us finally connect to our neighbors," said Pete Conroy of Jacksonville State University and Chairman of the Chief Ladiga project. "It's a thrill to know that our trails united, like a long skinny park, will connect more people and more places than ever before." Currently, the Chief Ladiga offers 33 miles of rail-trail and the Silver Comet, 50 miles. When completed, the trails will provide over 100 miles of continuous outdoor space.
"Creating green places for recreation and exercise requires not only governmental, but also committed corporate citizens, like Coca-Cola North America," said Keith Laughlin, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy president. "The long-term benefits of this partnership, linking the two states with a world-class trail, are innumerable and will span generations."
"We're grateful that Coca-Cola is taking a leadership role in helping us connect with our neighbors through pedestrian paths," said Alabama Governor Bob Riley "There is a great need for recreational trails as a safe place for exercise and outdoor enjoyment. Partnerships like these help Americans to get moving and enjoy more active lifestyles."
The Silver Comet-to-Chief Ladiga gift is part of a larger $500,000 grant made by Coca-Cola North America to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization that works with local communities across the United State to transform unused railroad corridors into trails and greenways. In addition to the major $100,000 grant in Georgia and Alabama, Coca-Cola North American is awarding trail development gifts to local organizations in 13 communities across the United States.
"For most of the last century, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers have supported community needs in keeping with the times," said Don Knauss, Coca-Cola North America president. "Today, providing people with more opportunities to be active and have greater access to green space is a clearly identified community need. We're pleased that with our contribution to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy we are able to support that need and give something lasting back to our communities."
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is located in Washington, D.C., and more information can be found at www.railstotrails.org.