Birmingham trail project will connect 21 communities

Birmingham trail project will connect 21 communities

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This artist's rendering shows part of the trail. Source: Alan Collins This artist's rendering shows part of the trail. Source: Alan Collins
City leaders say the trails will connect 21 communities. Source: Alan Collins City leaders say the trails will connect 21 communities. Source: Alan Collins
This artist's rendering illustrates another part of the trail. Source: Alan Collins This artist's rendering illustrates another part of the trail. Source: Alan Collins
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Thursday, Birmingham and federal officials broke ground on a new bike and trail project aimed connecting communities and Civil Rights events.

Mayor William Bell said the first of several trails will start at Center Street.

"As you know this used to be known as Dynamite Hill because of the bombings that took place in '63 and we felt it was significant area to being our trail and signage," Bell said.

The trial will be a part of the city's Civil Rights Trail. The work will include 24 interpretative signs to recount the racial strife in the area. The project will eventually cover 29 miles and connect 21 communities. One area resident is already looking forward to the trail.

"When it's all said and done we should be able to walk across the city of Birmingham," Alonzo Darrell said.

Federal Administrator Victor Mendez said Birmingham won a highly competitive TIGER (Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery) grant to develop the trail. He says the trails will provide more than recreation.

"Promoting livability. Simply bringing to local communities the option of not getting in a car but walk or bike to your job," Mendez said.

Environmental groups such as the Freshwater Land Trust pushed the project.

"It's going to be the greening of Birmingham. Greenways have so much environmental benefits. They help protect water quality and the Village Creek Watershed," Wendy Jackson, Executive Director of Freshwater Land Project, said.

The first section of the project should be completed later this year. The entire project should be finished in about two years.

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