City seeks grant for GIHP work

CONYERS -- A canoe dock, another mountain bike trail and a trail head will be coming to the Georgia International Horse Park if Conyers receives state funds it recently applied for from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Mayor Randy Mills gave staff members the go-ahead to submit an application for a $100,000 grant to the DNR's Trails and Greenways Recreation Trails Program in November.

David Spann, Conyers special projects director, formally presented the grant application to the mayor and City Council during Wednesday's Council meeting.

Spann said the state grant would obligate the city to 20 percent of the total project cost, estimated to be at least $125,000.

The state will reimburse Conyers 80 percent of the three-part project costs.

"We can do ours with labor, materials or money," Spann said of the city's match. "Most of ours would likely be in labor and a lot of that would be volunteer labor."

The Southern Off-Road Biking Association has already agreed to build a portion of the bike trail component of the three-part project.

The new mountain bike trail will be about a half a mile long and venture off the current Olympic mountain bike course. Spann said it would serve more as a beginner trail.

The canoe dock will be built on the Yellow River in the horse park and serve as a starting place to get in and out the river. The river leads downstream toward Porterdale.

Part of the money will also go toward a start and stop point for bikers, hikers and the like near the canoe dock, complete with restrooms, bike racks and a parking lot.

"It would kind of service everything down in that area," Spann said of the project.

Mentioning the daily traffic of people riding and using the 1,400-acre horse park, Spann said the city's pursuit of the grant is just "filling the need."

"Trails have become a very big recreation component for a lot of people," Spann said.

City officials won't find out if Conyers received the grant until spring, Spann said.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners applied for the same grant last month for Wheeler Trail, a project on the recreation master plan set to loop around Wheeler Park.