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Linear Path closing in on its own finish line

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Ken and Vickie Bridges of Missouri enjoy a scenic walk on the Linear Path. Elizabethton officials hope to see the final sections of the Linear Path completed by year’s end.

More than 15 years after it was started, Elizabethton’s Linear Path may soon be connected from East Side Elementary to Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.
Elizabethton’s Director of Planning and Development Jon Hartman said he hopes to see the final two sections of the Linear Path completed by the end of the year.
“We are in the process of finishing the right of ways,” Hartman said.
The trail will be almost six miles long, and the plan is to tie the trail in with the walking trails at Sycamore Shoals when it is finished.
Currently there are two unfinished portions of the walking trail, which was started in 1998. The two remaining unfinished sections run from Race Street to Riverside Park and from behind Lowe’s Home Improvement to Sycamore Shoals.
Hartman said the city had received state approval needed to have the path extend to the Sycamore Shoals trails. He said all of the rights-of-way along Race Street were in place. The final part that needed to be arranged was on the properties from Lowe’s to Sycamore Shoals, which he said the city was working to arrange.
Elizabethton will also be home to another trail system as the Tweetsie Trail work continues to progress. City Manager Jerome Kitchens said the city will provide minor maintenance along the Tweetsie Trail as was possible.
“The city will get plenty of benefits from the trail,” Kitchens said. “We can do things like general mowing.”
He added the city would also be adding basic crosswalks where the Tweetsie Trail crosses the city streets. Also, the city is working to gain some state grant funding to install more “substantial” crosswalks at the busier intersections on the trail, such as those at Bemberg Road and Hudson Avenue.
Kitchens noted the trail was already complementing what the city already had in place. The trail is offering a walking surface in areas where sidewalks are not in place, which is making it safer for pedestrians to get around in Elizabethton.
“We already see people using the trail as a sidewalk alternative,” he said. “We will be doing basic maintenance and adding safe crosswalks and doing what we can do in terms of improvement.”