Enough land to create more than three additional miles of bicycling and hiking trails within the city has been offered as a donation from a private land owner.
The proposed land donation would create a corridor over three miles long, averaging about 30 feet in width, and would connect hotel and restaurant properties on Highway 30 and subdivisions west of that highway to the Tanglefoot Trail that runs from New Albany to Houston Mississippi. New Albany businessman Terry Young told the New Albany Board of Aldermen that the offer from the John Young family was contingent only upon legal property descriptions and deeds being prepared. Additionally Young said his family will donate to the city a wooded area of about three acres, triangular in shape, which lies immediately adjacent to the proposed new trail.
The New Albany Board of Aldermen voted unanimously at its March 3 meeting to accept Young’s offer, subject to the contingencies stated.
The Tanglefoot Trail, which opened in September 2014, has triggered a commercial revival in downtown New Albany, with new hospitality businesses having opened downtown and more slated to open soon. During the last six months cycling enthusiasts have traveled to New Albany from several US states and from Canada to ride their bicycles on the paved trail. Downtown New Albany has become, even on weekdays and in the winter season, a destination for visitors, and not all are cyclists. Many come to shop in unique downtown retail stores, some new and others improved and expanded since Tanglefoot opened.
Sean Johnson, marketing director for the city, said some cyclists, who have traveled here to use the trail, have elected to stay in less attractive hotels in Pontotoc because they were more easily accessible to Tanglefoot than those located on Highway 30 in New Albany. Johnson told the aldermen that the city’s tourism tax collections for December 2014 had increased 16 percent over the same month in 2013.
City officials anticipate applying for a grant that would help finance paving of the additional trail corridor. It is expected that the city would have to match as much as 20 percent of the dollar value of the grant, but that the match could be made, at least in part, by “in kind” investment. In kind investment simply means the value of labor, materials, etc. the city would expend in completing the project.
Tanglefoot Trail is built on the abandoned right-of-way of a railroad built by Colonel William Clark Falkner late in the 19th century.