When the state budget passes this year, expectations are that it will have $500,000 for the Coastal Georgia Greenway, specifically for a project that makes an impact locally.
Jan. 9, coastal legislators — seven senators and 17 representatives — signed on to support the plan.
“This is not a separate bill or anything, it is a direct request — I think we’ve moved up the ladder, actually,” Jo Claire Hickson, Coastal Georgia Greenway executive director, said at the Coastal Advisory Council’s meeting Thursday in Midway. “So, we have a request directly in the appropriations committees, and it’s been supported by all of our coastal delegation.”
She went on to say, “It will go toward our Phase 1 project, which is building 16 miles of trail of what we call our ‘Island Hopper Trail,’ which is a link between Sapelo, and then a buffer island which is inland by Darien, St. Simons and Jekyll Island, and all of the trails on that. So, by building 16 miles of trail, we will link a 100-mile network of trails. This will be bringing in a new destination tourist, which is the distance cyclist, because they like to do ‘century rides’ — we’ll have a century ride for them to do.”
In December, the Jekyll Island Authority approved a resolution in support of a grant proposal, which if made would provide $100,000 beginning in the 2018 fiscal year.
“The authority board fully supported the grant proposal proffered by the JIA Conservation staff,” JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks said Dec. 19 to The News. “JIA is pleased at the prospect of a connected coastal route for cyclists.”
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to take its first crack at Gov. Nathan Deal’s $25 billion budget Thursday. It is the only item on the committee’s agenda.