New walking trail draws friends, fans

Published 8:52 pm Saturday, November 13, 2010

Marie Sneed and Bonnie Green have been friends since they were 12 years old. Fifty-four years later, they walk four miles a day on Troy Recreation Center’s new outdoor walking trail, reminiscing and enjoying the sunshine.

“It’s just good to be out in the fresh air and see nature,” Green said.

Though the trail has been usable for about three months, the rec center hosted an official ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating its newest outdoor addition on Friday at 10 a.m.

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Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and the Troy City Council attended the event. Center Director Dan Smith also recognized former Troy Recreation Board members Jo Harvell, Larry Hancock, E.M. Boy Motes, Dale Taylor, and Willie Thomas, who were instrumental in the planning stages of the trail.

Lunsford praised the city council for purchasing the land when it was available and talked about plans to develop the area further.

“There’s just so many opportunities when you have the land that the city council had the foresight to buy when it was made available,” he said.

The trail is currently a mile-long paved loop through a patch of forest behind the recreational center, complete with a bridge over a trickling stream, a tree swing, picnic table, benches and most recently, a water fountain.

The trail still has a lot of brushy growth and foliage, some of which will be cleared away to create a more park-like atmosphere, Smith said.

However, any tree that is as thick around as a person’s wrist will be left standing, he added.

The trail will be three miles long by the time it’s finished, Lunsford said.

“Eventually we’ll have a trail that meanders through the complex,” he said.

After a ribbon cutting at the mouth of the trail, officials and several locals who use the trail and attended the event walked, biked and road carts along the route.

For Billy Ray Williams, who attended the ribbon cutting, using the trail is more than a healthy diversion — it’s literally a matter of life and death.

Williams underwent triple bypass surgery in September after both of his arms suddenly began to ache.

He now walks about three miles every day.

“That’s the key to survival right now,” he said. “I just wish it was longer.”

After the ceremony, Lunsford also extended his thanks to Jerry Floyd, the inspector who oversaw the entire construction of the trail and ensured that the surrounding environment would be protected.

Floyd died about four weeks ago, but his memory will live on in the footsteps of every family on the track and every tree that grows alongside its path.

“He did a fabulous job,” Lunsford said.