Mayor Woodby meets with state official on Tweetsie Trail Expansion, requests state funding for project

Published 4:59 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby met with the state’s top finance official this week to discuss state funding for a project to extend the popular Tweetsie Trail and increase tourism for the region.
On Tuesday, Mayor Woodby spoke with Tennessee Commissioner of Finance and Administration Jim Bryson regarding the ongoing project in Carter County to extend the Tweetsie Trail from its current terminus in Elizabethton on into Hampton as well as a joint effort by Carter County and the City of Elizabethton to expand the Hampton Watershed Trails mountain biking park. In December of 2021, Mayor Woodby and other county officials met with state leaders from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to discuss these two projects and the potential they represent for Carter County. During that meeting in December, Mayor Woodby requested the state assist with funding for the project.
“Commissioner Bryson reached out to me to discuss this project and to inquire if we were still seeking funding assistance from the state,” Mayor Woodby said.
The Tweetsie Trail Expansion would increase the trail length from the current 9.7 miles to a total of 14 miles. The estimated total cost of the project is currently $6.3 Million, which includes the placement of a new pedestrian bridge across the Doe River to access one of the tunnels previously used by the famed railroad.
“Commissioner Bryson loved the project and the impacts it would bring not only to Carter County, but to Northeast Tennessee as a region,” Mayor Woodby said. “I requested the full $6.3 Million for the project to be placed in the state budget request discussions which will soon begin for the state’s new fiscal year budget process. They accepted the full $6.3 Million request and agreed to include it in their budget request to the State Legislature.”
According to Mayor Woodby, the trail project presents not only an opportunity for economic and tourism development, but a chance to provide residents with additional opportunities for outdoor recreation. Mayor Woodby likened the Carter County project to the development seen in rural Southwest Virginia through the establishment and marketing of the popular Creeper Trail.
“Carter County has identified outdoor recreation and tourism as significant economic drivers for future growth,” Mayor Woodby said. “These trails will serve as a draw to bring visitors to our community to experience the beautiful natural resources we have to offer. Tourism generated by these trails will have a regional impact as visitors spend time in the area at local restaurants, hotels, and businesses.
“The further development of cycling amenities is an extraordinary opportunity to capitalize on the natural assets available in our community,” Mayor Woodby added. “The expansions of The Tweetsie Trail and the Hampton Watershed Trails will increase outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents, enhancing overall health and wellness and providing an improved quality of life.”

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