Chomping at the Bit, Tennessee Community Finds Ways to Make Rail-Trail Happen Faster

Posted 10/26/12 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Building Trails

Photo © TCHRT's facebook page

The people of Putnam County in central Tennessee are getting impatient. The money is lined up and the plans have been drawn--like a child on Christmas morning, they can see the gift under the tree but have to wait a few more excruciating moments to unwrap it.

That gift is the Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail, and palatable local energy has the project moving ahead with speed. On November 16, an initial half-mile section of the trail will open to the public. But this is just the first phase of what will be a 19-mile trail along an active rail line between the county seat of Cookeville and downtown Monterey.

Aware that the rail-trail will immediately bring a myriad of benefits

Photo © TCHRT's facebook page

to local residents and businesses, Ken Hall, Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail board chairman, has his eyes well beyond phase 1 and is pushing for construction of subsequent sections. Thanks in large part to a $600,000 federal government Transportation Enhancements (TE) grant, the funding is already in place. Hall is now working on an expedited completion proposal--his plan for how the communities in the county can get the rail-trail built faster.

"I'm an impatient guy," Hall told Cookeville'sHerald-Citizen. "I wanted this done last year. This trail would bring in additional tourism bucks. It will be a big draw."

His proposal involves each municipal body involved in the project--Algood, Monterey, Cookeville and the county--donating equipment and one employee each, to work three days per week. The municipal employees would supervise eligible construction-qualified inmates from the local jail. Volunteers will also be recruited to be involved with construction.

Way to get it done, Putnam County! We look forward to a future of many more ribbon-cuttings for the Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail.

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