Ocmulgee Heritage Trail expansion in Macon nears start date

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Several officials in Macon say we’re just months away from construction to begin for the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail expansion project. The goal is to create a total of eight miles where people can walk or bike ride. 

Even on an overcast day you can find visitors exercising, spending time with friends, or walking their dog on the trail. 

"It’s perfect. I think it’s a beautiful thing for downtown Macon to continue expanding," parkgoer Brian Corrigan said. 

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He brought his family out for a picnic just before his kids head back to school. 

"Come down and enjoy being outside and enjoy the beauty of downtown Macon. You can see things like the train and the river. Downtown has beautiful park," Corrigan said. 

Plans are in the works to expand the trail thanks to fundraising efforts from several groups like the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, The Grassmann Trust, and the James Hyde Porter Charitable Foundation and non-profit NewTown Macon. The organizations raised $225,000.



"It will connect to the two portions and create 8 miles of trail," Nicole Kubas, the director of place at NewTown Macon, said. 

The plan is to extend the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail about a mile and a half from the bridge at Coliseum Drive to the Ocmulgee National Monument. 

"It’s just a really great thing that Macon has that we can offer. Just having the river and being able to exercise along the river, and utilize space that would otherwise not be," Kubas said. 

41NBC spoke with Jim David, the superintendent at the Ocmulgee National Monument. He says he and his staff are excited for the project, but there are still a few hurdles left before shovels can hit the dirt. 

"…a thing called a FONSI. Stands for "Finding Of No Significant Impact." It basically shows you that all of the environmental clearances have been done and there was nothing found," David said. 

Once David’s boss signs off, then a bid to begin work will be sent out. 

"We’re very excited about it. We think it’s going to be a very popular trail. It’s going to be a nice access for people to walk further along the river," David said. 

He adds it’s an opportunity to build and bring more people to enjoy the sights and sounds in their own "backyard."

David says the mile and a half Ocmulgee Heritage Trail expansion project is scheduled to be complete by fall of 2015.