World class trail systems connect a variety of destinations and experiences, offering something for all types of trail users. They connect people to outdoor recreation areas, neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, and shops. These trail systems become a draw not just to locals, but to people from afar as well. These systems become an economic driving force and create a culture where people want to visit and stay, or move to these communities.
In 2015, Dougherty County and the City of Albany realized they have all the pieces to the puzzle, and they just needed to fit them together into one cohesive trail system. This trail system will impact the citizens of Dougherty County by encouraging a more active community, promoting healthier and happier lifestyles, bringing the community together through connectivity, and encouraging economic growth downtown and throughout the county. To
achieve this goal, key stakeholders from around the county came together with the design team, KAIZEN Collaborative, in January 2016 to discuss the benefits and opportunities of this trail master plan and to fit the pieces together.
From there, a smaller steering committee was formed to review proposed routes, design standards, and branding elements for the trail system. The input from the steering committee was critical in gaining valuable local insight and feedback. The proposed trail system was presented as five phases with “before” and “after” images of key locations. Each segment was analyzed and documented to give a clear understanding of what is being proposed. In addition, cost data was estimated to help guide funding and phasing implementation.
The Flint River Trails master plan identifies over 20 miles of multi-use trails, including proposed areas for mountain bike and equestrian trail expansion as well as improvements for canoe and kayak access. This trail system has something for everyone and has the potential to change the landscape around Dougherty County forever.
Here is the PDF of Flint River Trails Master Plan
Flint River Trails
Flint River Trails is a non-profit organization located in Albany, Georgia.
The Dougherty County Trail Master Plan was started as a means to develop an interconnected trail system throughout the City of Albany and Dougherty County. In today’s real estate market, trails are being called the new beach front property. People want to live close to trails as they provide many benefits such as increased mental and physical health, increased sociability, a way of transportation, and an increase in economic activity. The millennial generation desires to be near trails and the benefits they provide. As the millennials in Albany look elsewhere and leave for cities that provide these amenities, it is crucial that the City of Albany and Dougherty County promote the development of this trail system as a means of encouraging their younger generation to want to stay or come back. This trail system will also be a major draw to businesses looking to locate in a city that has a greater quality of life for its workers. In addition to increased quality of life, the trail system will increase local spending and tax revenues. The return on this investment should be a win for everyone.
Opportunities abound with over 1,560 acres of publicly-owned property along the banks of the Flint River within Dougherty County. This asset provides a range of unique opportunities of different types of recreational trail facilities to serve many citizens’ interests.
Now is the time for Dougherty County to be interconnected and re-linked to the Flint River and Albany’s downtown core. A well-designed, well-constructed trail system will go a long way towards making Dougherty County one of southern Georgia’s most desirable emerging areas, so let’s get a move on!