Shelby County applying for grant to expand recreational trails

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County is in the process of applying for a grant to expand its recreational trails near the Cahaba River.

The Shelby County Commission on July 26 voted in favor of submitting a Recreational Trails Program grant application for assistance with the construction of about 9 1/2 miles of multi-use trails and a trailhead pavilion in Cahaba River Park, a joint venture between the county and Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust.

Although the program funds up to 80 percent of the total project costs, Shelby County will exceed the grant’s 20-percent minimum local match for the project, estimated to cost roughly $280,920, “to be more competitive in the grant selection process,” the resolution reads.

The county will commit 51.9 percent of the total direct funds ($145,920) from the general fund revenues and in-kind labor services from county resources, with $135,000 coming from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs RTP funds.

Created in 1998, the RTP is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, for the purpose of providing grant assistance to state and federal agencies and local units of government for the acquisition, development and improvement of recreational trails and trail-related amenities.

Eligible trail types include walking, jogging, cycling, skating, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, off-highway vehicle and equestrian.

In other business, the Commission approved Shelby County’s transportation plan for Fiscal Year 2022.

The county is required to adopt a transportation plan each year as a part of the Rebuild Alabama Act, which provides for the disbursement of funds to counties for maintenance and construction of certain roads and bridges.

“The law requires that we specify how we plan on spending next year’s allocation,” County Engineer Randy Cole said. “We’re doing that based on projections. It’s in keeping with the accountability clause in the act.”

The transportation plan includes a detailed list of projects and expenditures based on an estimate of the revenues anticipated from the fund during the fiscal year.

Shelby County’s 2022 plan includes the following projects and estimated costs:

  • Resurfacing Shelby County 42 from Shelby County 47, west to Shelby County 86 – $428,480.
  • Resurfacing Shelby County 17 (Valleydale Road) from Interstate 65 to Lakeside Drive – $652,315.
  • Resurfacing Shelby County 22 from U.S. 31, west to Alabama 119 – $823,351.
  • Resurfacing Shelby County 61 from Alabama 25 in Wilsonville, north to Shelby County 56 – $342,029.
  • Resurfacing Shelby County 61 from Shelby County 56, north and west to Shelby County 40 – $400,000.

In total, the plan addresses about 12 miles of roadway and $2.6 million in estimated costs.