Birmingham gives final approval for Jones Valley Trail Extension

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Jones Valley Trail Map
Jones Valley Trail Map. Map via Freshwater Land Trust

The Birmingham City Council approved a measure today granting a temporary construction easement enabling the Freshwater Land Trust to start building the Jones Valley Trail Extension (JVTE).

The new extension picks up at the end of the Rotary Trail on 32nd Street near Marx Brothers and Sloss Furnaces and ends on Avondale’s 41st Street—the heart of the just christened entertainment district. Once complete, the new transformational trail will connect downtown Birmingham to Avondale.

Plenty of Supporters

Rusha Smith, Executive Director of the Freshwater Land Trust, noted the deep support the JVTE has received from city leaders and the community.

“The Red Rock Trail System (which includes JVTE) is part of Mayor Woodfin’s ‘Woodfin Way.’ Green space is critically important to him. This is in Councilor O’Quinn’s district. He is also very pro-trail and pro-greenspace and an avid biker and outdoors person. And Councilor Smitherman, who heads the Public Improvement and Beautification Committee for the city, made the recommendation for the measure. Everyone with the city has been incredibly supportive and encouraging.”

The entire trail extension has also been funded privately through a number of partnerships with corporate sponsors and various foundations.

“Historically, that corridor between 14th Street Railroad Park and 41st Street in Avondale is the most heavily biked corridor in the city of Birmingham,” said Councilor Darrell O’Quinn. “We’re super happy to finally see this coming to fruition.”

Big Plans

Birmingham Alabama
Rotary Trail – photo from Freshwater Land Trust

On April 22nd, Earth Day, the Freshwater Land Trust intends to hold a ground-breaking for the Jones Valley Trail Extension. It will take about six to eight months to complete. In the meantime, the Land Trust is working on a continuation of the trail from 41st Street to Continental Gin, the home of Cahaba Brewing and popular restaurants and retail stores such as Tropicaleo and Sheppard’s Pet Supply. Called the Continental Gin Connector, the Land Trust plans to open the trail before The World Games 2022 comes to the Magic City.

According to Smith, the long-term goal with the Jones Valley Trail is to ultimately create a 22-mile loop that connects Ruffner Mountain to Red Mountain Park with downtown Birmingham and Railroad Park in between.

Become a Trail Advocate

The Freshwater Land Trust is ALL IN when it comes to the Jones Valley Trail. In fact, they recently announced that they are moving into the M2 building (formerly Old Car Heaven) which is located alongside the JVTE.

Now is a great time to become a trail advocate in Birmingham

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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