CATEGORY: Alcorn County

AUTHOR: SUMMER

HED:Red tape delays work on hiking/biking trail

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH - Construction of a 20-mile hiking/biking trail through Corinth and Alcorn County has been delayed pending final project review by the state and federal highway agencies, officials with the Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission said this week.

The $1.9 million project is being financed by a $1.4 million federal grant and $500,000 in local match funds.

Construction on the trail, which will link Civil War sites, was to have started in the spring with completion expected by fall, said Rosemary Williams, chairman of the commission, which spearheaded the drive for federal funding. "We will put it out for bids just as soon as the final review is completed," Williams said Friday.

These delays could push completion of the project to the first of next year, Williams said.

"I always hate to make promises about projects like this because a lot of it is out of local control," she said. "But we are fortunate that we have the money and can get it done eventually."

The $1.4 million was made available from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act program through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. ISTEA is a federal program that has funneled about $4.7 million each year into the state to fund projects involving multiple transportation modes.

Corinth received the second highest award for fiscal year 1996, the sixth year for the ISTEA program.

The city and county, which are contributing $250,000 each in match money, sponsored the project and will maintain the paths when completed.

The hiking/biking trail is expected to become a major tourist attraction for the city and county.

It will connect all 16 National Historic Landmarks in the city and county as well as other historic sites being considered for nomination as landmarks.

Running parallel to existing roads and streets, the trail will be a separate path paved in asphalt.

The trails will include at least one separate wooden bridge, landscaping and rest areas furnished with benches. A small park will be constructed downtown near the old railroad depot.

When completed, the trail will make almost a circle, taking in parts of West Corinth and the Wenasoga Community, the downtown area and parts of Farmington before looping north to the Tennessee State line.

It is hoped that the Tennessee Department of Transportation can provide a similar grant at a later date to complete the trail to the Shiloh National Military Park.

A one-mile leg of the tour through downtown Corinth opened last year. The 14-stop downtown tour begins at the Curlee House, which is also the site of the Civil War Siege and Battle of Corinth Interpretative Center. Maps of the downtown walking trail route are available at the center located at 705 Jackson St.

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