I am writing today to introduce everyone to Newnan’s newest park, the LINC.
The LINC adds to the growing list of linear parks in Georgia, including the Atlanta Beltline, the Silver Comet Trail, the Carrollton Greenbelt, The LaGrange Thread and a host of other paved trail systems. This thing has really caught on.
The LINC is a 12-foot-wide paved path. It is a linear park – a peaceful place to walk, run, skate, ride your bike or walk your dog. Access to a linear park points to increased fitness, socialization and connectivity, and as a result, a healthier community.
Linear parks are now one of the most desired community amenities among all age groups – seniors, boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials – as home buyers are increasingly looking for both greenspace and trails.
Linear parks increase property values, improve connectivity, serve as alternative transportation and spur economic development.
Coweta County’s Comprehensive Plan update, “Coweta County Community Plan 2016-2036,” indicates Coweta County residents responded in 2005 and again in 2016 in favor of more parks for passive recreation, and a frequent classification of this concept was for a linear park.
The Coweta County Commission and the Newnan City Council each unanimously approved the LINC Master Plan in 2017. Now, just two years later, Phase 1 of the LINC is open to the public.
The LINC Master Plan indicates a total of 26 miles of path.
Although a linear park is initially an expensive undertaking, the return on investment (ROI) is substantial. Health benefits alone constitute a 3:1 ROI. Stated another way, every dollar spent on a linear park results in three dollars saved in health care costs.
Similarly, the economic development benefits of a linear park average a 7:1 ROI. For every dollar spent on a linear park, the community will recognize an average of seven dollars returned due to new businesses, tourism, recreation and special events.
To cite a specific local example, the Silver Comet Trail connecting Smyrna, Ga., to Anniston, Ala., reports an ROI of 4:1 every year resulting from an estimated 1.9 million annual users, $57 million in direct spending, $20 million in out-of-state tourism, a 4-7 percent increase in home values within a quarter mile of the trail and $3.5 million in increased tax revenue.
While the LINC will never reach the scale of Silver Comet, a significant return on investment is anticipated for our community.
The LINC provides a venue for people of all ages, from all walks of life, to connect in the name of fun and fitness. Take the family to visit the LINC and enjoy a walk in the woods.
Join us for “Ready, Set, LINC,” a free, public celebration of the LINC on Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located in the parking area of the Newnan Centre, 1515 Lower Fayetteville Road in Newnan, we will enjoy live music, food trucks, vendor exhibits and activities such as rock climbing, ziplining and kayaking, and, of course, a one-mile fun run on the LINC.
Kim Learnard is director of the Friends of LINC, Inc.