Covering Barbour County: Rails To Trails In Eufaula

Long ago the old rail bed provided the path for trains to lumber through Eufaula. Day after day they would unload and load up again for the next whistle stop.

Today, there are no trains on this line but something else is coming down the tracks.

"These are the last two phases of a 9 year journey," said Main Street Eufaula Executive Director Ann Sparks.

For 9 years the city spent that time buying up property from the railroad and now they are 3 months away from turning the rail line into a trail, rails to trails for bikers and walkers. It's not a new concept but it could very well mean a nice pay off for Eufaula. One estimate from the Rails to Trails Conservancy group says hundreds of thousands of people travel the country looking for trails to explore and they apparently like to spend money. The average trail visitor spends nearly $280.00. Put it another way, sales tax collections could rise as much as 15%, according to the group.

"We'll take it up to the trestle and the second phase takes it over part of Lake Eufaula. This is unique because I don't believe there are many trails on the water," Sparks said.

Sparks says the asphalt trail will be 12 feet wide and work should start between 60 to 90 days. The entire project will cost just under a million dollars with most of the money coming from federal grants.

When it's built bikers and hikers just might hear the ghost of trains past, but more than likely they will hear the sweet, sweet sounds of nature.