By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
November 16, 2013
The finish of a seventh-month-long project officially came to a close on Nov. 6 with the dedication of the newly opened Beaver Dam Trail.
“When I became town manager, one of the first things Mayor Greg Crowder said to me was “I would love to take you down to the trail,” said Travis Jackson. “After going down there and seeing the damage, I thought what a great opportunity it was for our town staff to show what they’re capable of.”
“The entire town staff has gone way beyond what you would expect,” added Jackson. “While some of the town staff was working on the trail, others had to pick up the slack on the services normally provided by the town, but working as a team, we got it done.”
Crowder also spoke, thanking the town staff for its many hours of labor, Adams Construction which donated the roadway millings used for the trail’s path and Don Branscome who supplied heavy equipment needed for the repairs.
Councilman Greg Yonce called the project “a community effort,” adding that once again the people of Hillsville and Carroll County had a “peaceful, serene place to come to.”
The 3.32-mile trail, which was built in 2002, links the historic district of Hillsville to the rural setting of Beaver Dam Road. Over the years, 1.3 miles of the lower trail has suffered the majority of damage from flooding and downed trees. In January of this year, the trail suffered extensive damage due to a severe storm. In addition to flooding, one bridge was destroyed by a falling tree and the other six bridges were heavily damaged.
The past spring, Jackson and town council began to develop plans to repair the trail, which had been closed to the public. In April work began on the trail with the town crew spending every day on the trail that weather permitted. Six bridges were elevated to protect against flooding and the seventh was completely rebuilt and elevated. Each bridge also required the construction of a deck and stairs. The mulch which had previously formed the trail’s path was removed and replace with the roadway millings. In addition, a new staircase was built at the Beaver Dam Road entrance and a new, larger shelter was constructed at the trail’s halfway point.
“These improvement were labor intensive and required the sacrifice of many other town projects; however, the improvements made will ensure that town staff will not have the expensive, continued maintenance issues the trail created in the past,” said Jackson, who joined in the physical labor when time allowed.