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Rail to Trail plans are underway

Counties are looking to convert old railways into something resourceful.
Former Geneva Mayor Wynnton Melton discusses plans and considerations for the Rail to Trail proposal.
Former Geneva Mayor Wynnton Melton discusses plans and considerations for the Rail to Trail proposal.
Geneva Mayor Phillip Carter says his city is on board with changing the abandoned railways into trails and looks forward to submitting a collaborative proposal for funding.
Geneva Mayor Phillip Carter says his city is on board with changing the abandoned railways into trails and looks forward to submitting a collaborative proposal for funding.
There are lots of abandoned railways out there, full of overgrown weeds and rubble.

But some areas in the wiregrass are making some big plans, plans to turn those empty railroad tracks into trails. 

Altogether, it's a 43-mile stretch between Covington, Coffee and Geneva Counties.

Former Geneva Mayor Wynnton Melton was at the meetings when the plans started about four years.

"I was at the first meeting, representing the City of Geneva as the mayor at the time. I was really excited about it then, and as a private citizen, I'm equally excited about it.  I think it will be a tremendous asset to our entire area," Melton said.

The Alabama and Florida Railway has already pulled up some of those tracks in the corridor that connects Geneva and Andulusia. 

And plans are underway to turn the railways into trails for walking, biking and even horseback riding.

"It's excellent utilization of the land that's already there.  It's great economic development, because it will bring a lot of people to all the areas that's affected that this land runs through," said Melton.

He says it's also a benefit to the communities, providing another form of recreation. 

"I hope that all the parties involved can coordinate, get together and make it happen,” Melton said.

Those parties include the Alabama Trails Commission, Forever Wild, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Southeast Regional Planning Board.

The participating counties plan to submit their proposal for funding to Forever Wild sometime this summer.
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