South Cobb's Chatt. River trail clears final hurdle before construction

Mar. 14—MARIETTA — With approval from the Cobb Board of Commissioners last week, construction is expected to begin next month on the first phase of a trail along the Chattahoochee River in south Cobb.

The first 1.2-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee Riverlands project, a trail in and around Discovery Park at the River Line, will begin construction sometime in April and is expected to take two years to complete, per the $3.4 million contract with Excellere Construction approved by commissioners in February.

The trail segment along Discovery Boulevard is the "pilot" portion of what is hoped to be a multi-jurisdiction, 100-mile network from Lake Lanier to Newnan.

The commission last Tuesday approved the final hurdle in the process to start construction on the first phase of the pilot portion. That last step before construction was confirmation from the Atlanta Regional Commission that the first phase of the project is consistent with the regional plan for the Chattahoochee River Corridor.

Commissioners approved ARC's certificate of compliance by a 4-1 vote during their regular meeting last Tuesday.

Commissioner Keli Gambrill voted against the measure, just as she has against previous measures related to the project.

She told the MDJ in February her opposition stemmed from the project receiving 2016 special-purpose local-option sales tax funding despite not being approved until 2018.

"This was approved after the SPLOST was approved, yet it's costing almost $2 million a mile to construct — that's where my issue is," she said.

The pilot portion is divided into two phases. The second phase, also about a mile, runs further south from Nickajack Creek to Mableton Parkway. The board agreed to put up $625,000 in county funds to match a $2.5 million federal grant for engineering and design of that second portion.