Anniston officials on Thursday announced they will accept bids for new biking trails on Coldwater Mountain.
The money for the project comes from a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The city of Anniston voted in March to put a $25,000 match toward the effort.
Tim Lindlom, vice president for mountain biking with the Northeast Alabama Bicycling Association, said the additional trails could mean a large increase in riders coming into the area.
“One of the main features that mountain bikers look for while traveling to destination trail systems is not only the quality of the trail but also the quantity of the miles of trails,” he said. “In the last two years we’ve seen great growth in the number of riders that are coming to Coldwater out of town, out of state and even out of the country.”
City officials will open the bids for the project on Oct. 11.
Cory Salley, finance director for the city of Anniston, said the planned trail will connect the existing paths to a trailhead intended for downtown Anniston.
The trailhead will include a parking lot and a primitive camping site.
Toby Bennington, director of city planning and economic development for the city of Anniston, said the trailhead project is paid for by two $150,000 grants, one from the Land Water Conservation Fund and the other from the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Bennington added that Calhoun County will contribute paving work to the project, which should total about $600,000.
City officials expect the trailhead work to begin in October or November, Salley said.
Work for the new trail calls for one mile of beginner track, a half mile of intermediate and just over half a mile of intermediate gravity trails.
Patrick Wigley, owner of Wig’s Wheels, said the beginner portion of the planned trail will do a lot to attract more riders. He said many have said Coldwater currently has a lack of trails suitable for new mountain bikers.
Wigley said more beginner-level riders means more business for him, as the novices usually need the most gear.
“The gravity stuff is always fun for the experienced riders like myself; we get close to dying and that keeps us coming back,” he said.
Bennington said any time a city can bring in more recreation, that has an added benefit throughout the community.
“When mountain bike enthusiasts travel to an area, they bring their families and spend money, so there’s a multiplier involved there,” he said.