Branded as the “Southern Segment” of the Firefly Trail, this section substantially completes the Trail from Union Point just south of N. Rhodes Street, through the city limits of Woodville, and ending at the County line at State Route 77 and Oglethorpe County. The 6.5 mile Southern Segment is the longest continuous section of the Firefly Trail that is completed to date.
Ultimately, the Firefly Trail will span about 39 miles from Union Point to Athens on or fairly close to the historic corridor of the historic rail line known as the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch. In addition to the Southern Segment in Greene County that starts in Union Point and passes through Woodville, the Firefly Trail will eventually pass through the towns of Maxeys, Stephens, Crawford, Arnoldsville and Winterville on its way to Athens.
Greene County was awarded $2.1million in grant funds from the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program to help fund the $3.5million construction project. Firefly Trail, Inc. raised another $220,000.00 in donations to support the project, the PATH Foundation donated $320,000.00, and the Riverview Foundation donated another $50,000.00 to help complete the section running through the City of Woodville.
Union Point Mayor Lanier Rhodes welcomed everyone to the ribbon cutting and shared his excitement for the completion of the project. State Representative Trey Rhodes, who was instrumental in securing the grant funding, spoke during the ceremony to express appreciation for all the hard work that helped to complete the project. Greta deMayo with the PATH Foundation also spoke expressing continued support for the Firefly Trail Project as it continues in the future through Oglethorpe County. And Greene County District 3 Commissioner Dee Lindsey concluded the ceremony thanking his fellow commissioners for supporting the project, and all those that worked to complete the project.
Greene County Chairman Gary Usry and Vice-Chairman Jeffery Smith both attended the ceremony to show their support for the project. Chairman Usry remarked how pleased he was with the cooperative efforts between the County and the cities of Union Point and Woodville, and how proud he was that this project has been completed. Usry stated that it is a “true legacy” type project given how many people will use the trail, the economic benefit the trail will provide over time, and how it was uniquely funded and constructed through wide-reaching cooperative efforts.
Planning is already underway to extend the Trail about 1,500-feet further south along Carlton Ave. in Union Point to deposit directly into the downtown district of the City of Union Point. This short segment may even include the unique feature of passing through an old ground-level water tank, but regardless, the connection to the downtown district of Union Point will put the finishing touches on a remarkable project.