Popular walking trail resurfaced with old tires
The Spalding County (Ga.) Parks and Recreation Department has upgraded a popular recreation area using recycled tires. Previously, parents whose children practiced on soccer and softball fields at the Airport Road Park walked or jogged on an old gravel track. “Every time it rained, it needed maintenance,” says Louis Greene, parks and recreation director, adding that the track would become muddy and rutted. “It would be weeks before we could get by to grade it and compact it.”
In early 1998, the county applied to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for a $100,000 recycling and waste reduction grant to recycle old tire material into a new walking trail surface. EPD approved the grant with the stipulation that the county provide matching funds. The grant money comes from a $2-per-tire disposal fee that Georgians pay each time they replace their tires. Using $300,000 generated from a Park Funds Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, the county renovated the park and installed the new half-mile, 9-foot wide walking trail.
The trail features crumb rubber mixed with urethane, which will be virtually maintenance-free and will provide a level, shock-absorbing surface conducive to walking and running, Greene says. The project used approximately 7,000 tires.
Lighting upgrades were another key improvement, as 150-watt mercury vapor lights with overhead wires were replaced by modern fixtures that resemble antique gas globe lights and feature internal and underground wiring. The renovation also entailed paving the parking lot, planting trees, landscaping, installing irrigation equipment and constructing a playground and “com mons” area. Nashville, Tenn.-based Lose & Associates was retained to perform the renovation, while Lewis Construction of Stone Mountain, Ga., served as the primary contractor.
Since the project’s completion in September, park usage has picked up. “We have a lot of people who just love that track,” Greene says. “Tons of people are walking who were not walking before, and people are socializing.”