The 16 mile St. Marks Trail is getting a long awaited extension. The City of Tallahassee is collaborating with Zimmer Development Company.
The St. Marks Railroad Trail currently runs from the town of St. Marks to the intersection of Gamble and Stearns in Tallahassee, but the city wants to bring the trail closer to the center of town. Zimmer Development Company needs two point four acres of city-owned land to build new student housing on Gaines Street. So the two parties made a deal. Wayne Tedder, a City Development Manager, says the city sold the land to Zimmer under the condition that a portion be set aside for a trail extension.
“The St. Marks Trail, what we lacked up to this point before the sale of the land was a couple hundred feet connection between the easements that we had in place over to Lake Bradford Road. What the developer has done is said ‘look, I will acquire some land that you need to make that trail extension possible,’” says Tedder.
Tedder says the agreement is mutually beneficial, but not everyone is confident in the plans. A group of cyclists attended a meeting on the agreement. They raised concerns for the future of the trail.
“Their concern was it would just dead-end into Lake Bradford Road and wouldn’t make that connection from Lake Bradford Road up to the intersection of Gaines Street and we clearly demonstrated that’s been the plans all along and they just had some bad information from that perspective,” he says.
Tedder says now that the city has made a promise to extend the trail, the cyclists are cautiously optimistic. City Management appointed Tallahassee planner Artie White to keep the public informed about trail progress. The trail construction will coincide with the Zimmer student housing development. Tedder expects both will be finished in 17 months.