Cobb commission approves $7.8M Silver Comet Trail connector
May 9—MARIETTA — The Cobb Board of Commissioners moved one step closer to connecting the Silver Comet Trail to Atlanta's Beltline at its meeting Tuesday.
While the ultimate goal of connecting the two trails is still a ways off, the commission gave the go-ahead for construction of part of the Silver Comet Trail Connector along a portion of Atlanta Road.
The roughly one-mile, $7.8 million project will include a multi-use trail, between 10 and 12 feet wide, starting at the intersection of Plant Atkinson and Atlanta roads and ending at 5180 Atlanta Road.
The project also includes repairs to a bridge over Atlanta Road and repaving of Atlanta Road between Plant Atkinson Road and the Atlanta Road bridge over the Chattahoochee River, according to Drew Raessler, the county's transportation director.
According to a timeline for the project, construction is expected to begin this summer and wrap up within two years.
Raessler told commissioners Monday he did not expect impacts to the existing Silver Comet Trail, since this project would be an extension, though Atlanta Road will be affected.
"There will be a short closure of Atlanta Road that we'll have to stage during construction of some of the bridge rehabilitation," he said.
The county will also build a trail between Plant Atkinson and the existing Silver Comet Trail in a separate project, and once both projects are finished, the Silver Comet Trail and its connecting points will be complete through Cobb County, Raessler noted.
The distance between the Silver Comet Trail and the Beltline is 3.5 miles, according to the PATH Foundation, which has been lobbying for the extension of the Silver Comet Trail.
According to the group, the extended Silver Comet Trail will connect to the Whetstone Creek Trail in Fulton County, and that trail will then connect to an expanded Beltline.
In other business Tuesday, the commission moved ahead in the process to enhance the 17.5-acre Ebenezer Downs Park in northeast Cobb.
Initially unveiled to the public in 2019, improvements to the park at Ebenezer and Canton roads will take shape this year as part of the county's 2022 special-purpose local-option sales tax program, with $3 million allocated to the project.
The park is already used for county events like fishing rodeos, said Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, though the improvements are set to make a house on the property usable for weddings and other gatherings.
Improvements will include a paved path around the lake at the park, picnic tables, a playground and a trail through the woods. Since it's a passive park, there will be no sports facilities.
Cobb Parks Director Michael Brantley said the date for construction to begin is still up in the air. He estimates work on the improvements would begin in the fall or winter of this year and last between six and nine months.
Finally, the commission approved mobile ticketing for CobbLinc buses, though Commissioner Keli Gambrill, a regular opponent of mass transit matters that come before the board, expressed her opposition to the move.
"This transit item was an improvement which will assist in the collecting of the approximately $1 million of revenue that we collect yearly," Gambrill said. "Yet it does nothing to address the $18 to $24 million subsidy that has to be funded through the general fund each year, and that costs the taxpayers due to the operational shortfall in our bus system."