The coveted connector between the Atlanta Beltline and Silver Comet Trail is showing signs of promise, according to the Cobb County Courier.
Cobb County government has reportedly cited a 3.4-mile stretch of the Silver Comet Trail as one of its priorities for the county’s greenways and trails plan.
That extension would welcome the Silver Comet ITP, close to Atlanta’s Moore’s Mill Road. It would also mean cyclists and pedestrians, should they so choose, would be able to trek from downtown Atlanta to Alabama without leaving a paved pathway.
No official decisions have been made, but for trail proponents it’s a clear sign of progress.
This project stemmed from an initiative by advocacy groups Connect the Comet and the PATH Foundation, which sent a 4,000-signature petition to Gov. Nathan Deal, urging he facilitate discussions about the potential development.
“The draft plan was posted in early March,” said Cobb County DOT Planning Division Manager Eric Meyer, according to the Courier. “Connecting the Silver Comet, the granddaddy of metro Atlanta trails, with the Beltline is an obvious project that a lot of folks would benefit from.”
The caveat: A 6.5-mile unused railway corridor needed to link the 60-plus mile Silver Comet Trail with a northwest portion of the Beltline has not been officially abandoned by CSX Corp., a railroad and real estate company.
Proponents look forward to the day when “CSX is willing to sell or lease the rail line to the state,” Meyer continued, adding that the connection project is a DOT staff recommendation right now. It will be presented to the county’s board of commissioners sometime this summer.
CSX, in a statement sent to Curbed Atlanta was vague about its intentions for the connection, although it said it’s helping to expand the Beltline:
CSX works closely with communities and organizations on rails to trails projects, and we have a strong record of supporting such projects in the city of Atlanta. In fact, earlier this year, CSX was proud to join the mayor and Atlanta Beltline, Inc. to announce the most recent property transaction that will expand the Atlanta Beltline project. CSX considers each trail project on a case-by-case basis, and our ability to continue serving customers factors heavily into any decision on such projects.
It could be an encouraging sign, though, that CSX recently coughed up the four-mile crescent of land—for $26 million—needed to create the Beltline’s Southside Trail in coming years.
Connect the Comet will host a community engagement meeting 4 p.m. July 29 at Vinings Bank.