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 trails and build a picturesque gateway park on 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 welcome center is expected to be complete by early 2007.
"The Silver Comet, a long-time favorite of Georgians, when connected with the Chief Ladiga Trail will provide more than 100 miles of incredible outdoor space for not only Georgia and Alabama residents, but also for all those visiting this soon-to-be national treasure," said Ed McBrayer, executive director of the PATH Foundation, an Atlanta-based trail development organization. Currently, the Chief Ladiga offers 33 miles of rail-trail and the Silver Comet, 50 miles.
"The Silver Comet trail in Georgia is one of the best examples of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's efforts, and of how local, county, state and federal authorities collaborate with community organizations like the PATH Foundation to build and maintain trails," said Keith Laughlin, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy president. "Creating green places for recreation and exercise requires the support of government as well as committed corporate citizens, like Coca-Cola North America."
"I am gratified to know that Coca-Cola is taking a leadership position in developing urban trails through Rails-to-Trails Conservancy," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. "There is a great need in our communities for safe places to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Partnerships like these help Americans get moving and ultimately lead to healthier and 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 States to transform unused railroad corridors into trails and greenways. In addition to the major $100,000 grant in Georgia and Alabama, Coca-Cola North America is awarding strail 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.