U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.2M for Construction of a Multi-Use Trail to Support Tourism in Southern Georgia

Staff Report

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

On yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.2 million CARES Act recovery assistance grant to Dougherty County, Georgia, to construct a six-mile pedestrian path connecting the downtown area with a local attraction, Radium Springs.

This project will create a variety of jobs in trail development, recreation and the service and hospitality industry. The EDA investment will be matched with $5.6 million in local funds.

“President Biden is committed to harnessing the full power of the federal government to ensure our nation not only recovers from this pandemic, but builds a stronger America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will create jobs in the region, attract visitors and tourists to the area, and enhance disaster resiliency by addressing critical infrastructure needs.”

“The Economic Development Administration supports locally-driven efforts to spur economic growth and prosperity,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandro Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will boost the local tourism industry, promoting job creation and economic resilience.”

“This new pedestrian path will improve quality-of-life and pedestrian safety,” said Senator Jon Ossoff. “We will keep delivering infrastructure upgrades for the people of Southwest Georgia.”

“I am laser-focused on creating jobs and bringing even more tourism to our wonderful state,” said Senator Raphael Warnock. “It’s great to see that the EDA will be investing more than $4 million into Dougherty County and Macon’s tourism industries, creating jobs and empowering small businesses across Southern and Middle Georgia.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (SWGRC). EDA funds SWGRC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“On behalf of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, we are extraordinarily appreciative of this award, which will not only allow us to solidify the connection between downtown Albany and our beloved Radium Springs and its revitalization, but will also expand recreational and tourism opportunities along this corridor of the Flint River Trail System to make our region stronger,” said Christopher S. Cohilas, Chairman of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners.

“Our efforts to revitalize and restore Radium Springs has been a focus in the county for several years, with much work being completed on the springs and Spring Run Bridge, as well as the erection of the trailhead and fishing pond,” said Michael McCoy, Dougherty County Administrator. “These additional funds will provide an even greater vision for the county and city to connect the trails from Radium Springs all the way to the downtown connector trail, which is a huge milestone for Albany and Dougherty County and our citizens.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.