1. Amerson – Riverside Cemetery Connector
The Amerson-Riverside Cemetery Connector trail is one of the most significant expansions of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail system ever. This trail will connect Amerson River Park to Riverside Cemetery with a two-mile riverfront trail. Eventually, plans call for two scenic overlook trails that will loop off the connector trail: one to the north near Amerson and one to the south near Riverside Cemetery. During a relining project in 2017, Macon Water Authority (MWA) installed several permanent culverts to create a connection along this easement. In addition, the Trail is still working to craft an agreement with the railroad to access this trail where it will cross railroad easements. The Trail is expected to cost approximately $2 million. In late 2020, Macon-Bibb won a grant to complete the engineering and permitting plans for this trail. NewTown must raise at least $400,000 in matching funds to complete this trail. You may donate to the restricted OHT Construction Fund today to help with this match.
2. Amerson – Riverside Connector – South River Loop
The South River loop consists of 2,500 linear feet of trail and an 80-foot bridge. This trail branches off from the Amerson-Riverside Connector near Riverside Cemetery towards the river. The 2016 class of Leadership Macon raised the funds to construct and set the bridge, but additional funding will be required to construct trail to connect either end of the bridge to existing trail. The remaining trail will cost approximately $125,000 if done in gravel or $500,000 if done in concrete. This loop will provide beautiful views of the Ocmulgee River. Construction of the South River Loop is contingent on additional fundraising, an access agreement with the railroad, conclusion of MWA construction, and impacts from I16/I75 interchange construction.
3. Amerson – Riverside Connector – North River Loop
The North River loop consists of 1,400 linear feet of trail and a 40-foot bridge. This trail branches off from the Amerson-Riverside Connector near Amerson River Park towards the river. The bridge is expected to cost approximately $50,000. The remaining trail will cost approximately $75,000 if done in gravel or $250,000 if done in concrete. The total project will cost between $125,000 and $300,000. Construction of the North River Loop is contingent on additional fundraising, an access agreement with the railroad, the conclusion of MWA construction, and impacts from I16/I75 interchange construction.
6. Rose Hill Cemetery Connection
Many years ago, NewTown purchased land and easements on the west side of the Spring Street bridge to connect the sidewalks on the bridge to the trail system of Rose Hill Cemetery. We also poured new trail to connect the existing Rose Hill trail system to the interchanges with the sidewalks. Unfortunately, political obstacles prevented the construction of the actual interchanges themselves. In June 2016, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia awarded a Downtown Challenge grant to Historic Macon Foundation to complete surveying, design, and engineering for this trail expansion. This connection will enable users to access the trail systems of both Riverside and Rose Hill Cemeteries from the existing downtown trail system. The current plan will create an interchange from the sidewalk on the southwestern side of the Spring Street bridge looping under the bridge to connect with existing trail in Rose Hill Cemetery. We expect that this interchange will cost $350,000 to construct, and additional easements and permitting are necessary before construction can proceed.
8. Improvements to Spring St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Bridges
The Macon Action Plan recommended specific changes to the existing plans proposed by Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for the bridges over the Ocmulgee River on Spring St. and MLK Jr. Blvd. Right now, GDOT’s plans do not include appropriate accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. The Macon Action Plan recommends protected bike lanes and sidewalks within the existing bridge width and budget allocation to expand the trail. GDOT amended its plan to include two 10’ sidewalks on the new MLK bridge, which is currently under construction. No further improvements are planned to Spring St. Illustrated in the Macon Action Plan.
9. Improvements to Clinton Street Trail
For many years, trail users have been able to access a side gate to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park by using the sidewalks along Coliseum Drive and then walking down Clinton Street. Because Clinton Street lacks sidewalks, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) has developed plans to improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience with sidewalks, lighting and landscaping. This project has been designed and engineered by the UDA.
10. Riverside Drive Trail Improvements
The Macon Action Plan recommended drastic improvements to the sidewalks along Riverside Drive to provide a protected cycle track alongside the existing sidewalk. The Downtown Challenge program awarded a grant to the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission to hire a contractor to complete a scoping study of Riverside Drive that could eventually enable the construction of bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The scoping study has been accepted by GDOT. Implementing this road diet and scoping study is expected to cost $10 million but will unlock a tremendous amount of development potential along the corridor and could be funded through the existing Tax Allocation District (TAD). Illustrated in the Macon Action Plan and in the Scoping Study.
12. Amerson Pond Loop Trail
Originally planned as part of the massive improvement to Amerson River Park completed in 2015, the pond loop trail had to be eliminated from the project because of budget restrictions. The trail is fully designed, engineered, permitted, and ready to build and would provide additional trail with views of the river. The trail runs on the edge of the oxbow outside the pond at Amerson River Park and is approximately one mile long. The initial cost estimate for this project is $350,000. Work could begin very quickly after funding is identified.
13. Amerson Boat Launch Trail
The original plans for Amerson River Park included a trail to connect the grand northern river overlook to the Jay Hall boat launch. Unfortunately, this trail was eliminated from initial construction due to budget constraints. Thanks to the OHT Construction Fund at NewTown Macon, this trail is currently under construction at a cost of approximately $200,000 with completion expected by Summer of 2021. Once completed, the Amerson Boat Launch Trail will be 1800 linear feet. Patrons will be able to boat or tube around the Amerson oxbow and walk all the way back to the north river access on the trail.