Newton Trails plans to upgrade its trails and implement some new ones

COVINGTON – Newton Trails has announced its plans for 2014, which includes extensions to its existing system of pathways.

According to information on its website, the organization plans to eventually create a network of nature trails that will link Covington, Oxford and Porterdale — Newton County’s three major cities. The proposed trail system, along with the existing one, has stops at numerous locations including neighborhoods, parks, recreational facilities and Newton County schools.

The Eastside Trail, which is already in place, is one of the paths due to have some upgrades, according to Newton Trails organizers.

“Although the Eastside Trail is open to trail users, there are a number of projects to enhance the level of service the trail provides to our community,” said Newton Trails Board Chairman Florian Pohl. “We’ve been helping the city (of Covington) and county install amenities along the trail such as trashcans and benches; other projects have to do with accessibility and with connecting the trail to points of interest and business in the community.”

Newton County and the city of Covington have already partially put into effect a four-phase project for its trail system.

Phase 1, which is partially completed, consisted of installing sidewalks and bike lanes from the Newton County Library along Floyd Street, passing the downtown square and Trailblazer Park. This trail is expected to end at Turner Lake Park once it is finished.

The second phase will have the trail go through the Turner Lake Park, split into two separate trails, with one ending at Porterdale Elementary and one at the former Newton High School on Ram Drive.

Phase 3, known as the Eastside Trail, has already been completed. It extends from the Covington library, winds through newly developed neighborhoods, and ends at Eastside High School.

In the final phase, Newton Trails hopes to reclaim the section of Dried Indian Creek that flows through downtown Covington and have it developed as a greenway that will connect neighborhoods to shopping districts and the Oxford Trail.

In 2006, the Porterdale Trail was constructed, which runs alongside the Yellow River. From here, Newton Trails plans to have the path cross Ga. Highway 81 and lead to a 27-acre piece of land that the city of Porterdale has designated for a park. Next to the future park is the old train depot, for which Porterdale has secured a grant to turn into a trailhead and gathering place.

Additionally, the organization hopes to build a 5-mile loop trail around the city of Oxford, which will follow street corridors that were part of the original city plan but were never developed. The trail is expected to run along Dried Indian Creek and will connect Palmer Stone Elementary, Cousins Middle, and Oxford College of Emory University.