Guyton’s long-awaited Rails to Trails project is getting closer to its first step of work.
City council members approved a bid from Sikes Brothers to begin work on the Rails to Trails. The effort will begin from the caboose across Central Boulevard from city hall and continue along Central.
“It’s going to connect the heart of the city to Pilgrim Park,” Alderman Jeff Lariscy said.
While the trail at Pilgrim Park is concrete, the path for the Rails to Trails project will be asphalt. It also will go right in front of the front door of the new Guyton post office.
When the post office was under construction, the postal system consulted the city about where to place it. Originally, they wanted the building toward the back of the property, with a parking lot in front.
But the city convinced them to put the building closer to the front of the property, where the Rails to Trails path could go right by the front door, “with no traffic to impede the pedestrians,” Lariscy said.
There were four bids on the project, and Arco’s was the lowest. But a hangup on the line items for utility poles replacement led to council members rejecting that bid. The Sikes Brothers bid was for $528,188.21. Bids were opened July 21.
Just how soon work can begin, Lariscy didn’t know — but the project has been in the works for nearly six years.
“Not nearly as long as it took to get started,” Lariscy cracked.
The project funding is due to run out by late December 2010. The city also has talked about making the appearance of the Rails to Trails project, perhaps including brick pavers.
“We want to set if off aestethically,” Lariscy said. “All that’s going to get figured out. But we’re looking forward to it.”
The Rails to Trails Conservancy, a national group, has taken more than 1,500 unused and abandoned sections of rail and turned them into pathways in the last 22 years.