Johnson County

Rails to trails project moving along

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The old railroad from Johnson City to Elizabethton looks completely different.

The weeds are mowed and most of the steal and crossties have been carted off.

"It's going to be beautiful," says Nancy Gilley, who lives along the trail, "I enjoy the outdoors anyway, walking."

She plans to use the new trail, in fact she tells says she's already tested it out.

"I walked down it a few times, I know I'm not supposed to, it's lovely, it's going to be nice," explains Gilley.

Dale and April Wortman walk down Old Elizabethton Highway almost daily.

The couple says they can't wait for the trial to open.

"I think it will be safer," April Wortman said.

"A lot of people drive pretty crazy," Dale Wortman says as he describes walking in the area, "there's a lot of traffic, we've been shoved off the road a couple of times."

Along with the excitement the trail brings, there's concern in this community. 

One neighbor says she is worried about the people next to her home and the danger it could bring

Law enforcement officials say they plan to keep a close eye on the trail once it's open.

Most of the tracks are gone now; the railroad had 24 months from the time the city bought the property in 2011 to remove them.

With the work winding down, Johnson City and Elizabehton leaders will meet in a couple of weeks to work on the trail's master plan.

Trains have not used the tracks in roughly a decade.

The path is close to 10 miles long stretching from downtown Johnson City to downtown Elizabethton.

Both cities tried to buy the land, but Johnson City won out paying 600-thousand dollars in 2011.


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