Midland sign - standing white letters with tractor beside it doing work.

The large Midland sign at downtown Gainesville’s Midtown Greenway is shown. The area contains a playground, skateboard park, dog park, and more.

Work is continuing on the 35-mile Highlands to Islands Trail that will eventually connect Rock Green Greenway with Lanier Islands. A recently released video provides an update about the progress of the trails and greenway system, as well as the amenities that already are seeking usage by Hall County residents.

The video takes a tour of the existing parts of the trails, showing forested shaded areas with cyclists and walkers. Other sections highlight sunny spots and playgrounds for family picnics and activities.

Featured prominently on the home page, the nearly 4-minute video touts the community benefits and ways that the trail can enhance the quality of life. The video was produced through a partnership between Gainesville, Flowery Branch and Oakwood, as well as the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 and Hall County government.

Colorful mural painted on a crosswalk.

From crosswalks to murals the Highlands to Islands Trail is awash in color.

Overall, the trail is approximately 50 percent complete, including the multi-use sidepaths in South Hall that connect to Lake Lanier Islands on one end and the city of Braselton on the other.

“We are still missing large pieces within the center of the spine that connects Gainesville to Flowery Branch,” said Joseph Boyd, Transportation Planning director with the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization. “The Gainesville Airport Connector Trail is the next planned large piece of the trail, connecting the Midland Greenway with Chicopee Trail. Gainesville is hoping that this segment will be completed by 2024.”

A sculpture of five kids waling across a fallen tree log and its reflection in the water below

A sculpture of kids playing at downtown Gainesville’s Mule Camp Springs, the location where the city began in the early 1800s.

Next steps include continued planning and working with local jurisdictions, determining allocation of funds from both SPLOST VIII and various state and federal grants.

Several other videos on the website provide additional information about the project’s progress. From the home screen, access News Flash to view these update videos, as well as information about improvements to the county’s infrastructure, such as new roundabouts and road enhancements.

To watch the video or for more information, visit www.highlandstoislands.org.

Photos: by Alan Hope