A Russell County park has received national recognition.
The Crawford walking trail is in the community park about a 20-minute drive from downtown Columbus, but a world away.
In an old pecan grove, the park was built last year with a combination of county money, grants and local folks showing up with their tractors pushing dirt.
The National Association of Counties has recognized the park with an achievement award.
The honor came this week and is something that pleases Russell County Commissioner Chance Corbett. But he is happier that people are using the facility.
“My favorite comment was from people who say I didn’t know there were pecan trees in that field,” Corbett said. “It took a lot of volunteers and county work to get this to where it is today.”
That field is now a county park and exercise trail that is attracting the residents of this rural Russell County community.
“It’s close to home so I can leave for a shorter amount of time. It only takes me maybe five minutes to get here,” said Bradi McCain, a regular park user. “So, I am not gone from the house longer than I need to be rather than driving all the way to Phenix City. That takes me 45 minutes, and 45 minutes home with a 30-minute walk.”
The quarter mile-paved and lit oblong path is not just about convivence. It’s also about safety.
“We do think it’s safe,” Corbett said. “We lit it for another reason, not only so people could walk later or earlier in the morning, but also for safety purposes as well. You can walk around and see someone across the entire walking track.”
Safety is important to users.
“It’s smooth,” McCain said. “No one bothers me. No one has messed with me. … I don’t have to worry about looking over my shoulder making sure a car is not going to hit me.”
The trail cost about $50,000 dollars and came through a combination of county funds, grants, and volunteer labor.
For Dana Childs, it’s just a good spot to walk Gypsy.
“It’s nice and shady with all the pecan trees and it’s just a pretty place to come. I just love it.”