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Carroll awards bid for Patriot Trail

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Walking trail at Hillsville Elementary could grow to 3 miles.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — School officials went down the path to awarding a construction bid for a piece of the Patriot Trail at the Carroll School Board’s May meeting.
The action passed with one abstention and one "no" vote.
Continuing to work towards creating a walking trail at the Hillsville Elementary School, officials had set out two options in the bidding process with different thicknesses of asphalt for a eight foot wide, half-mile long, handicapped-assessable portion of the trail.
The school board awarded the project to low bidder Blue Ridge Paving, with Sandy Hendrick abstaining because Blue Ridge is his son’s company. School Board Member Joey Haynes voted no.
Option 2 called for a four-inch base of gravel with two inches of compacted asphalt on top.
The low bid came in at $44,345.
Educator Bob Martin has been spearheading the project and wrote the request that led to a recreational trail grant being awarded.
“I’m very proud to say of the $97,000 original grant… I’ve been able to spend all that money in Carroll County with Carroll County vendors,” Martin said.
That does not include $1,000 that was needed to pay for a stump grinder that was not available here.
Leftover funds will go towards hydroseeding areas adjacent to the trail and signage to mark the shorter options of the total two-mile trail.
A streambank mitigation in the same location by the Virginia Department of Transportation will add to the project. This was required to alleviate the impact of building the U.S. 58 Hillsville bypass.
“When they do that, I envision that the trail will go up to about three miles,” Martin said.
He hopes that by fall the trail will be usable, so students and the cross country team can take advantage of it. Martin added that until the whole thing is finished, the team might have to run laps to get the distance.
“Anybody in the county will be able to use the trails, which also go around the FFA farm down there,” he said.
A previously installed bridge installed with a $14,000 forestry demonstration grant will make a part of the property beyond the creek accessible.
Carroll School Board members asked Hillsville Elementary students what they wanted to call the new development, and they suggested Patriot Trail, after the school mascot, Martin said. He still sees a possibility to come up with enhancements there to educate people about industrialist George L. Carter’s legacy at what was his homeplace.
Only a chimney remains of the former home.
The grant funds, along with about $19,400 in local match, will pay for the construction of a three-mile trail on the 93-acre school site.
The Virginia Department of Forestry grant counted toward the local match, Martin said.
“The Carroll Public Service Authority donated time and equipment toward the trail, which accounted for $3,500 of the match,” he added. “Fowler Farm donated equipment, materials and labor of over $5,000.00.  This made the match.”