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Partnership could create bike trail at Rock Creek Park
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County commissioners are considering a partnership that could help fund the construction of mountain bike trails next to Rock Creek Park.

The trails would be built on 73 acres owned by the Dawson County Board of Education.

School leaders are in support of the project, according to Superintendent Damon Gibbs.

"The school system has a long-standing relationship with the county for facility sharing and this fits with our desire to grow our relationship with the county and provide opportunities that make Dawson County a great place to live," he said.

Dawson County Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson last week told commissioners that federal grants are available to help fund the trails.

Administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Recreational Trails Program annually grants more than $2 million in funding to trail projects across the state.

The multi-purpose 2-3 mile trail system Henson has in mind is projected to cost between $50,000 and $80,000.

If awarded, there would be a required a 20 percent recipient match that could be paid through in-kind construction on the trails, according to Henson.

The county, she said, would be responsible for the 20 percent match, while the school board's contribution would be the land.

"The vision we have for this property is a vision we share with the Dawson County school board to make good use of this property for the local community," she said. "They jointly, with us, would like to partner with us in a grant application to put mountain bike trails and multi-use trails on that property."

Henson said the state favors recreational partnerships, like the one proposed between the county and the school board.

She asked the board to authorize a resolution allowing her to apply for the grant. She also asked the county to amend its existing intergovernmental agreement, last updated in 2005, with the school system to specifically include the trail system.

Commissioner Chairman Mike Berg called the proposed trail system "a good use of the property and a great application for a joint use with the school system."

Commissioners are expected to vote on the measure during Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting.