Councils pledge Rails to Trails support

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Both the City of Andalusia and the City of Opp have this week passed resolutions in support of a group that hopes to work with Forever Wild to convert old railroad beds to multi-use trails.

Andalusia Clerk John Thompson said there are “several million dollars beyond here and the reality of the railroad bed becoming a trail.”

Thompson explained that a group of enthusiasts who would like to see the recently abandoned 43.8-mile long rail corridor between Andalusia and Geneva become a trail asked the two cities and others affected to pass the resolutions.

“It is a loose coalitions of cities, the towns, county governments, and the state rails commission, to try to create a trail from here to Geneva,” Thompson said. “I don’t want to create any false excitement, because this is a long ways away.”

CSX owns the abandoned rail property, but has removed the rails. Members of the coalition said the property has a $2 million price tag.

Thompson said the group hopes to ask Forever Wild, a land trust that has purchased more than 227,000 acres of land for public use since 1992, to work with them to acquire the property, which it would then seek funding to develop.

Jo Lewis of Forever Wild explained that members of the Forever Wild board accept hundreds of nominations for projects each year.

The Geneva City Council also has passed a similar resolution.