By David Pendered
The final segment of the Noonday Creek Trail project in Cobb County is on schedule to open as early as June, when the trail will link Kennesaw Mountain and the Town Center commercial area.
The Noonday Creek Trail is a seven-mile paved pathway that has been under construction for about five years. Once it’s finished, the trail will connect a major retail and collegiate destination with one of the country’s major battlefield parks.
The area also has historic significance related to the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War, which recognizes its 150th anniversary this summer. Noonday Creek and Bells Ferry were the site of a cavalry battle in June 1864 that left perhaps 100 dead and was deemed not decisive by one account.
The trail is a short distance to the south of Kennesaw State University. Through its intersection with Barrett Lakes Boulevard, the trail will provide a route to bicycle or walk between campus and some of the residential developments that have opened in recent years to serve KSU’s growing student population. For example, U Pointe Kennesaw is almost adjecent to the trail, east of I-75.
Noonday Creek Trail is up to 10 feet wide, includes five pedestrian bridges, and provides trailheads and parking at multiple locations along the trail’s length. The trail will provide a walking and cycling experience that may be compared to PATH 400, the trail being built in the Ga. 400 corridor in Buckhead. Some segments of PATH 400 seem distant from development and others are intensely urban.
The segment of Noonday Creek Trail that’s nearing completion goes by the name 2-C. This segment arcs in a sort of semi-circular shape north of Town Center, connecting Bells Ferry Road with Barrett Lakes Boulevard.
This segment spans 2.6 miles and is the final of five segments that were required to complete the entire project.
This is the construction schedule, which started in 2009, and the sources of funding, according to the Town Center Area Community Improvement District:
- Phase 1-A: Visitors Center at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to the park boundary – National Park Service, special purpose local option sales tax;
- Phase 1-B: Stilesboro Road to park boundary, on the east side, and park boundary to Barrett Parkway – SPLOST and federal transportation funds;
- Phase 2-A: Barrett Parkway to Noonday Creek – SPLOST, TCACID, federal funds;
- Phase 2-B: U.S. 41 to Barrett Lakes Boulevard – SPLOST, TCACID;
- Phase 2-C: Barrett Lakes Boulevard to Bells Ferry Road – Grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative, SPLOST, TCACID.
The total construction cost was $11.6 million. That includes $992,573 in design costs; $2 million to acquire right-of-way; and $8.7 million in construction.
Noonday Creek Trail is part of Cobb County’s planned network of trails that are intended to be developed into a countywide system that connects major destinations through Cobb. The county’s website indicates Cobb has 31 trails and that 13 of the trails are accessible by Cobb County Transit.
The area’s historic significance during the Atlanta Campaign is related in this passage by a KSU student, whose findings are maintained on a kennesaw.edu website:
- “[Major General William T.] Sherman’s low confidence in the commanders had kept his cavalry close to the army’s flanks, but they were not allowed to relax. General mccook’s troopers patrolled to powders springs and scouted down toward the Chattahoochee. On the opposite flank, near [Major General James] Mcphearson, Sherman ordered Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard’s 2nd cavalry division to cross Noonday Creek and fight [General Joseph] Johnston’s cavalry.
- “On June 20 Garrard’s 1st brigade, led by Col. Robert H.G. Minty, crossed the creek and sloshed south along Bell’s Rerry Road. This movement brought an immediate response from Gen. Joe Wheeler, who launched an attack with 1,100 in three brigades. Between the creek and the cross roads by Dr. Robert McAfee’ farmhouse erupted an old-fashioned cavalry engagement, complete with charging steeds, swinging sabers, cuts, thrusts, and parries. After two hours of charges – two spurred by the Union, three by the Confederates – Minty fell back to reinforcements at the bridge. Each side claimed victory, but cavalry fights usually were neither decisive nor bloody. Total combined casualties numbered not much over a hundred.”