74: Oconee Rivers Greenway Project

Project Description from submission form

The Oconee Rivers Greenway Project will expand and improve the Oconee Rivers Greenway corridors associated with the North and Middle Oconee Rivers in Athens-Clarke County, further developing an asset that brings significant recreational, conservation, educational, health and wellbeing, and transportation opportunities to our community. The requested funding reflects infrastructure development envisioned in the Greenway Network Plan 2016 Update (GNP) approved by the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission (M&C).  Its focus includes land acquisition, design, and constructing multiuse trails along the North and Middle Oconee river corridors, and encompasses necessary bridges, boardwalks, trailhead parking, and safety and wayfinding signage. Amenities such as benches, interpretive signage, public art, and observation decks may be included. Trail construction also will restore degraded natural areas, allowing for removal of invasive species and planting of native ones.

This project would be for the completion of Greenway Network trails in general.  This pricing developed for the SPLOST proposal is based on three "representative" projects that were selected because they are highly feasible and are designated "high priority trails" in the GNP (page 59).  However, the project funding could be used for any of the Greenway Network trail projects, as dictated by Mayor and Commission.  The three representative projects as shown on the attached maps are as follows:

  1. North Oconee River Greenway Trail/Nature Center Loop West. This 3.5-mile trail would follow the North Oconee River north of Sandy Creek Nature Center and connect to Holland Youth Sports Complex.
  2. Middle Oconee River Greenway Trail - Ben Burton Park to the former Matthews Motors property at Beech Haven. This trail would form the first 1.5 miles of the Middle Oconee Greenway, connecting Ben Burton Park to Beech Haven, which will soon undergo master planning to turn it into a public use area.
  3. Pulaski Heights Trail. This 0.6-mile connector trail would provide a much-needed off-street route for active transportation from Downtown Athens to the North Oconee Greenway.

These representative projects comprise four major bicycle/pedestrian bridges, approximately 5.5 miles of new multiuse trails, and three trailhead parking areas. Property acquisition and right-of-way easements will be required. The projects listed above are "representative" because flexibility will be necessary to support trail construction that leverages ACC and SPLOST resources and timing.

Estimated Cost:  
SPLOST 2020 Budget
$28,714,000
Estimated Annual Operating Impact
$266,000
Alternate Project Budget
$12,500,000
Alternate Project Estimated Annual Operating Impact
No change

Project Presentation Video

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