Workers with the city and Jasper County, along with volunteers with area bicycle riding organizations completed a cleanup of the Walnut Bottoms areas north of Carthage last week.
On Thursday, the city and representatives of bicycle riding groups will meet to plan the next steps in putting a single-track bicycle trail in the wooded area along Spring River.
It’s a project that the city has been discussing for the past several months as a relatively inexpensive way to improve the quality of life in Carthage by giving bicyclists a place to practice their hobby where they won’t come into conflict with cars and trucks.
City Administrator Tom Short, Parks Director Alan Bull and Public Works Director Zeb Carney reported on the project at Tuesday’s regular Carthage City Council meeting.
“We’re basically doing this with in-house forces and using their departments,” Short said. “Just the amount of garbage and tires we took out of there is amazing. I just wanted to thank them for their work.”
If built, the trail would be placed on 25 acres of land the city owns along North Garrison Street around the Spring River and to the north near Kendricktown.
Much of the land is right of way along the street, but it includes larger blocks of land on the south edge of Kendricktown and on the north edge of Carthage along Spring River on either side of the center of the three bridges on North Garrison.
Part of the 25 acres is two-thirds of an acre owned by Jasper County. County officials have offered to donate that land to the city, but county crews helped in last week’s cleanup.
In Tuesday’s city council meeting, Carney reported that cleanup participants removed a total of 96 cubic yards of trash from the area.
“It was a bottle here and a styrafoam cup there,” Carney said. “To give you an idea, the roll-off dumpsters at the recycling center are 30 yard dumpsters, so about three and a half of those is what we filled up.”
Carney said crews removed 272 old tires from the city-owned land and 172 tires from the county’s land.