by: Linda Stouffer Updated:
ATLANTA,None - Jane Weeks says she walks the trail along Medlock Park every day, even in the chilly autumn weather.
"Every day. If I miss, I walk twice a day," Weeks told Channel 2's Linda Stouffer. "This is the best thing that's happened."
The trail was created by the private
nonprofit PATH Foundation.
The organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. They have created more than 170 miles of biking and walking paths around metro Atlanta.
Co-founder Ed McBrayer said his work is about connecting people.
"Putting them on a trail like
this," he said. "Everybody speaks to each other and waves, and it's really kind of extraordinary dynamic."
One of the most popular projects is the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb, Paulding and Polk
It is 63 miles long, constructed with the help of local governments on the site of an old railroad route.
"I've ridden around the
Southeast around different trails and stuff, and this is the best one ever," bike rider Tim Page said.
But in its 20 years, PATH has hit some controversy along the way.
In 2008, several neighbors sued to try to stop construction of the DeKalb trail connecting Medlock Park and Mason Mill Parks.
Attorney Brian Doughdrill said the court sided with them and they later reached a settlement on fees, but the trail was completed anyway.
"They allowed PATH to build a concrete superhighway through a stream buffer. It shouldn't have been built where it was built and configured as it was built," Doughdrill said.
Stouffer went back to the University Heights neighborhood Wednesday and found at least one resident who is happy with the outcome.
"I like it, we haven't had a problem," the neighbor said.
Next up for PATH is the completion of the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta Beltline.
Co-founder Pete Pellegrini showed Stouffer the progress.
"Its' a very unique project," he said.
Both founders envision more trails with a downtown hub at Centennial Park.
"All connected with trails so that eventually everybody can get out of their cars and have a healthy way to get where they are going," McBrayer said.
"They're tangible from the standpoint they are concrete and all
that, but what's really amazing is the life-changing things you see with families coming out, people getting back into good health, reconnecting neighbors with one another," Pellegrini said.