By Billy Corriher
Jonesboro resident Keith Welch said he just started walking the Jester's Creek Trail near the Bill Lee Library on Battle Creek Road.
"This is only my second day," he said. "But I think it's great."
Welch said he's walking the trail for the exercise, but he enjoys the scenery as well.
"It's nice to have a quiet place like this," he said. "Clayton County is growing, and this type of thing is definitely needed."
Soon Welch will have even more space to walk as the county expands the trail, which will wind from Jonesboro to Morrow alongside the creek.
The trail now starts at the library and goes for .7 miles to Tara Stadium, but when the county finishes the trail's expansion in July or August, it will be much longer.
"It's going to extend up to Tara Elementary (in Morrow) and that'll give it a total of three miles," said Mark Ballard, the county's assistant director of parks and recreations.
The wooden planks that now overlook the creek will be extended and will go under Battle Creek Road. The longer path will also have several offshoots from the main trail to overlook the wetlands.
Ballard said the extension of the trail was part of the parks and recreation department's Master Plan for enhancing recreation space.
"They had looked at this area around Jester's Creek and thought it would be a great area for people to walk," he said.
Once the longer trail is finished this summer, Ballard said it could eventually be lengthened again.
"The city of Morrow is looking at the possibility of extending it north into the city," he said.
Ballard said the county has tried to add more greenspace and recreation areas as the county has experienced explosive growth in recent years.
"There's not a lot of paths and recreation areas left," he said. "But we've done a lot more toward putting more paths and walking trails all over the county."
Ballard said the finished trail will have beautiful scenery, and he hopes the extension will encourage more county residents to walk or ride a bike on the path.
"Each time we're down there, there's somebody on the trail," he said. "And I'm sure even more people are going to use it once it's finished."