The purpose of this project is to identify the existing and future resources, opportunities and obstacles involved in the Silver Comet Trail.
The goal of the study is twofold: Phase One will gather demographic information of trail users and phase two is to locate possible connections points from the trail to other regions. The hope is that it will serve as a regional model for other trails and how they positively impact the economy.
David Kenemer, Principal Planner, NGRC, said data would be collected through online surveys and in person interviews.
Survey questions asked will include ethic and age group, estimated total spent on food, lodging, special equipment, average spent during trip, day trip or longer, and where a visitor plans to stay.
Kenemer said the study will provide real data that can be used in planning for economic development.
He said the information will also reveal how well the Silver Comet Trail is doing in generating money and the job impact it can have now and in the future.
“This is one of the first projects of this type,” Kenemer said. “Most studies are done on future – not existing – trails. It has created a lot of interest in Georgia.”
He said personal interviews in Polk County would be conducted by volunteers stationed at the Depot in Cedartown, near Frankie’s Restaurant in Rockmart and at the Georgia/Alabama line.
These individuals will ask questions of people using the Silver Comet Trail from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16; 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23.
Chair Jean Laltrello, Polk Tourism Committee, said it is exciting to know that “we will now have a resource to use when promoting the impact of tourism in our community.”
Paul Craighead, tourism committee member, Rockmart Civic Arts Commission, said the study would provide data if the group is seeking grant funds.
The Silver Comet Trail is identified as a quiet, non-motorized, paved trail for walkers, hikers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, horses, dog walkers, and is wheelchair accessible.
It is 61.5 miles long, crosses Cobb, Paulding, and Polk counties and ends at the Georgia/Alabama state line, west of Cedartown.
Officials announced that this study has been years in the making. It will come to fruition with the help of ALTA Design + Planning.