Dublin City Council approves funding for new river walk and bike route upgrades
About 20 years ago, Dublin leaders started to build a river walk, but for some unknown reason they never finished it. The small completed portion is located behind Roche Farm & Garden on East Jackson Street. Now the city council is picking up right where it left off.
“What really helped is when the Young Game Changers came into town and saw the potential that we had. It got us all back on track,” Dublin Mayor Phil Best said.
The Young Game Changers are young professionals who came to Dublin and suggested what could be done to improve the community. One of their recommendations was to make use of State Bike Route 40 and the river walk.
“We need to take advantage of the natural resources we have and I don’t know a better way to take advantage of it than creating the river walk,” said Councilman Jerry Davis.
This river walk will stretch along the Oconee River and intersect State Bike Route 40, also known as Highway 80.
“State Bicycle Route 40 runs from Columbus, Georgia to Savannah, Georgia with Dublin right at the heart of the route,” Laurens County Director of Tourism Rebecca McWilliam said.
Council members want to make the highway more bicycle friendly. This includes putting up “Share the Road” signs and marking the bike lanes on the road. Right now, the general idea is to keep State Bike Route 40 a “share the road” highway, but in certain areas where there’s a heavy flow of traffic, officials are considering making it two separate streets.
Council is using $60,000 from its SPLOST budget to hire a developer. Once a plan is created, additional funds will be needed to implement it.
“We’re already looking at federal funding sources, state funding sources, grants that might possibly be able to pay for this project,” said McWilliam.
McWilliam expects the entire project to be completed in 5 to 10 years.