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Tennessee Central Rail Trail Proposing Two Expansions

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Central Rail Trail Proposing Two Expansions

The Tennessee Central Rail Trail Authority is proposing two expansions of its Putnam County trail system.

Two segments are being recommended. The first would run east from the Algood trail head to Parragon Road. The second would stretch west from the Cookeville Depot to to Cane Creek Park with a possible connection to West End Park.

Chairman Tara Wohlgemuth said the city of Cookeville has expressed interest in spearheading the western expansion.

“In my conversations with Dr. (Charles) Womack, who is on the city council, it sounds like there might be a potential for grant funding through T-DOT or another state agency,” Wohlgemuth said. “However, the engineering needed to extend the trail might have to be done in house, so the city of Cookeville might have to pay for that themselves.”

The Cookeville City Council will accept the authority’s recommendations during its Thursday meeting. Wohlgemth said the strategy for the Algood trail is to work with the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Department and the city of Algood.

“The thought was to work with the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Department to apply for grant funding and then, to use some funding from Algood’s sidewalk program to extend the trail within the Algood city limits,” Wohlgemuth said. “We are pursuing a grant with the Tennessee Department of Health, their Build Environment Grant. So that will help us determine the engineering and get the best route up the mountain.”

Wohlgemuth said she estimates that the trails at most would cost a million dollars a mile, but an official price tag will not be known until the engineering phase is complete. Wohlgemuth said four segments were considered, but the two expansions were selected based on a study.

“We had a cause and effect matrix that we used,” Wohlgemuth said. “We had four different segments highlighted and 10 different categories where we ranked them. Some of them head to do with the safety of the trail. connectivity, economic impact, community benefits, so we looked at each segment of the trail and how it addresses different categories, and we ranked them from one to 10.”

Wohlgemuth said the overall goal is to still connect Monterey to the trail system and possibly adding Baxter later.


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