Lesli Marchese, Campus Carrier Deputy News Editor
On Sept. 9 at the SGA meeting, college president Stephen R. Briggs announced that the city of Rome was working on a project to connect Berry to downtown Rome. Briggs said that the trail would run from main campus, through the cattle fields, all the way back to the river and to downtown.
Sammy Rich, the city manager for Rome, said the trail will complement the existing Heritage Trail along the Oostanaula River.
“The trail will probably be 10-12 feet wide … and more than likely asphalt,” Rich said. “It will truly be a multi-purpose trail.”
According to Julie Smith, president of the Trails for Recreation and Economic Development (TRED) program, the city approached the TRED board of directors in spring of 2013 to see if they were interested in applying to create 3.3 miles of new trails.
“We continue to expand our trail system,” Rich said. “Any time we can increase the amount of trails or the miles of trails I think it’s a win for the community.”
The city, in partnership with TRED, put in an application for $1.9 million to the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for the new trails.
The SPLOST committee approved their application for $1.8 million.
SPLOST adds one cent to the sales tax of all purchases from businesses in the area. This money is used to fund city projects and special interest groups, such as the trails.
Cathy Borer, associate professor of biology, is excited about the prospect for a connection that will allow Berry students to bike downtown.
“[It’s] a really wonderful resource,” Borer said.
Smith is glad to see that there will be a better connection between Berry and the Rome community.
“It’s really heartening to see that there has been a lot more emphasis and excitement about connecting Berry to the downtown community,” Smith said. “It’s really nice that students and faculty and staff realize that they can take part and that Rome is working to have transportation choices.”=
The city hopes to have the trail in the design phase by November.