ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - They're building a bridge between two cities.
"I think it's a win-win for both communities," Johnson City Commissioner Jenny Brock said. "This is one of those build it they will come."
Construction of the ten-mile Tweetsie Trail between Johnson City and Elizabethton is right on track toward a September 1 opening; the actual opening event will be August 30 at the Tweetsie Trail Trek. "Say that three times," Brock laughed.
It'll be a 4.3-mile family fun walk/race from the trail bridge behind Elizabethton's Lion's Field to the Memorial Community Center in Johnson City. "It's special because it's scenic, it's beautiful," Trek coordinator Ray Flynn said. "It's wonderful to get out and exercise and walk on."
Besides exercising their bodies, leaders of both cities hope trail users will be exercising their wallets, too as the trail becomes a bridge to commerce. "The physical connection is one thing," Brock said. "I think the commercial connection, the connection of the people traveling back and forth and visiting the cities I think is going to be incredible."
Visitors that Elizabethton City Manager Jerome Kitchens says are incredibly important to a small city like his. "This week I've talked to a bike store owner who is interested in moving onto the trail," he said.
But before the stores that are sure to come on board, both cities leaders are just thrilled at the prospects of getting this bridge to the future open and chugging along. "It's another asset, another attraction, another reason for a visitor to come here," Johnson City Chamber President Gary Mabrey said. "So we're excited about the cooperation between Elizabethton and Johnson City."
Participants in the Trail Trek on August 30th will receive a special opening event t-shirt and a commemorative medallion. To register for the event log onto www.tweetsietrail.com.