Our area is centrally located between Atlanta, Birmingham and Chattanooga, and we have natural beauty and recreational resources that urban people dream about. Improving our facilities, restaurants and events will build on our estimated 40,000 visitors a year and current annual economic benefit of $5 million. When you look at this math, Anniston’s allocation of $450,000 to extend the Chief Ladiga Trail into the city is a wise investment.
Already, enterprising young men plan to open a local foods restaurant and craft beer pub at Anniston’s historic train depot, demonstrating that private investment follows public leadership. Knowing the customer base will be there lowers the risk for small business owners.
Visitors are becoming aware of the cutting edge trails at Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail and the hospitality of our local businesses. They will also be seeking out activities for the whole family to enjoy, such as our smaller hiking and biking trails, the scenic Ladiga Trail, boutique shopping and dining out.
How can other towns in Calhoun County get with the spirit? One Jacksonville project has been about five years in the planning. The Greenway Park will be a one-mile spur, running along a creek where kingfishers and blue heron can be seen. It will connect the Ladiga Trail to the restaurants, shopping and famous cupcakes of our historic Town Square. It will also provide a safer route to school for students at Kitty Stone Elementary. The Greenway already contains a skateboard park and ball fields, but one day it will include a peace garden, historic tree trail, duck pond and outdoor nature classroom. Will our city and county leaders take courage and make this investment now?
Susan Di Biase