Phase II contract for Hampton Watershed Biking, Hiking Trail gets OK by Council

Published 12:25 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
Elizabethton City Council passed in a five-to-one vote Thursday night to approve the city’s entering into a contract with Contour Trail Design Co., of Knoxville, for the construction of Phase II of the Hampton Watershed Biking and Hiking Trail at a cost not to exceed $270,000.

Councilmen Richard M. Barker, Michael Simerly, Jeffrey C. Treadway, Mayor Pro-Tem William E. “Bill” Carter, and Mayor Curt Alexander voted for approval, while Councilman Wes Frazier voted against. Councilman Kim Birchfield was absent.

City Manager Daniel Estes said Carter County accepted the grant and it’s gone through the County Commission for the full scope of the work, only a portion of which relates to the Hampton bike trails property. “Once they’ve gotten all of that grant funding from the state, they’ll flow that through to us for this work,” Estes said.

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In seeking clarification, Treadway asked, “It’s not obligating the city for city funds?”

“If all goes according to plan, no,” Estes said. “This would be funded by the state grant of funds to Carter County, of which a portion will flow to us and that will cover this expense.”

A summary provided to council members explains that Eagle Scouts began developing the current trail system, which now offers 3.75 miles of trail and an elevation gain of 500 feet, more than 15 years ago. A network of single-track trails allows for experiences ranging from easy, to intermediate, to difficult. There is the lower loop, which is known as the “Pine Loop,” and is said to be “great for beginnings.” The “River Loop” offers “beautiful views of the Doe River.” The upper loop, creatively named the “Cats Pajamas,” is “only for experienced bike riders.”

Phase I of the multi-phase project began in May 2022 and was completed this past spring. Phase II, which is funded by Carter County Government, will add 3.4 miles to the existing trail system at an elevation ranging from 2,420 feet to 3,020 feet.

Contour Trail Design Co., which has more than 14 years of trail-building experience and has designed and constructed more than 100 miles of multi-use trails, was the only firm to respond to the City of Elizabethton’s request for qualification for a project manager/trail builder.

The City of Elizabethton currently owns about 238 acres in Hampton.