Bob Albach of Kennesaw, a retired furniture craftsman, is an avid biker who said he’d visit the Town Center Area more often because of the new trail.
“I’m not a maniac about it, but I like to bike. I like to find trails that are not too hilly,” Albach said. “The more trails, the merrier. I like the trails because you don’t have to compete with traffic.”
The $11.6 million trail was a joint project between the Town Center Area Community Improvement District, the county, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the National Park Service. It has been under construction since 2010. The trail is open to bikers and walkers, and stretches from the Town Center Mall to the edge of Kennesaw Mountain.
Mason Zimmerman, Town Center CID chairman, said the trail is a novelty to the area because it connects to the Mountain to River Trail and the West Cobb Trail, creating a trail system that leads to Alabama.
“You can ride a bicycle to Alabama. You will ride through Cobb County to Paulding County … to Alabama,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said the trail system also connects to Buford Dam and to downtown Atlanta.
Eddie Canon, the county’s parks and recreation director, said trails are a boost to the quality of life in the county.
“We consider our trails in Cobb County as linear parks,” Canon said.
Canon said there are 65 trails in Cobb County and they attract many visitors and new residents.
“The trail system has become an economic driver in Cobb County,” Canon said.
Canon said people of all ages use the trails because they’re well-built and well-maintained.
“Everyone can use the trails, no matter what your talent is, or if you have no talent, you can get out and walk the trails,” Canon said.
County Chairman Tim Lee said the trails will draw people to Cobb.
“What a great day it is in Cobb County that we’re able to celebrate a piece of asphalt on the ground,” Lee said.
Lee said he often talks to business owners who want to relocate to Cobb because of the trail systems, which indicate the county has a high quality of life. Lee added trails, such as the Noonday Trail, are attractive to young people graduating from Kennesaw State University.
“This trail system is part of what makes them stay,” Lee said.
Zimmerman said the Noonday Creek Trail is essential to building a community because it connects with other trail systems.
“They’re for everyone. That’s what’s so beautiful about the trails,” Zimmerman said. “(The trails) improve the quality of life by providing an alternate means of transportation.”
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews said he also wants young people to live in the city, and he appreciates the draw of the trails.
“Our goal has been for many years to create an environment that the youth in our community grow up and get an education, and then they want to make Kennesaw their hometown,” Mathews said. “Our city’s average age is decreasing.”