A story on Page One of today’s Chickasaw Journal points out the 44-mile trail from Houston to New Albany has been graded and is awaiting the asphalt topping that will finalize the first phase of this historic project.
The concept for Tanglefoot Trail was developed years ago by a group of visionary communities across Northeast Mississippi. That idea – and the benefits it will bring — are rapidly becoming a reality.
The rails-to-trails project will see the old GM&O railbed heading north out of town turned into a 10-foot wide asphalt trail for cyclists and pedestrians. The project will have two 3-foot wide shoulders on each side of the trail.
The project has been a longtime coming and while many are glad to see it make it to Houston, few realize the impact this project will have on our community.
Houston is the southern gateway to Tanglefoot Trail. We will be either the starting point or the destination of those who travel the trail.
To echo the words of Lee Nabors, Houston’s representative on the Tanglefoot Trail Board of Directors, we don’t think people realize the impact this project will have on tourism in our area and on the local economy in each community is passes through.
Tourist dollars are the best and easiest dollars for any business to seek. We hope citizens will begin to consider ways to capitalize on this tourism opportunity by offering restaurants, cafes, bed-and-breakfast inns, campgrounds and even art and crafts along the trail or in close proximity.
The first phase of the project will be the actual grading and construction of the trail and it is slated for completion in April.
The second phase of the project is the most exciting and will consist of design and construction of gateway buildings in New Albany, Pontotoc and Houston. This phase will also include the construction of “whistle stop” rest-area facilities at Ingomar, Ecru, Algoma and New Houlka.
An equestrian trail is also planned for the project.
Tanglefoot Trail is a huge opportunity for Houston and Northeast Mississippi. We need to look for ways to continue to capitalize on a project that will add immensely to our quality of life.