Savannahians to Vote on TSPLOST Funding for Tide to Town Urban Trail

Healthy Savannah encourages opportunities for physical activity through trail use as the construction of Truman Linear Park Trail’s final stretch is set to begin.

(SAVANNAH, GA) When Savannahians go to the polls on November 8, one of the issues they’ll be considering is whether to vote in favor of a proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST). If passed, the measure would include $10 million for pedestrian and bicycle safety and connectivity improvements, including funding for the continuing construction of Tide to Town, Savannah’s urban trail system.

Funding for Tide to Town would be primarily dedicated to the Middleground Road section of the trail, with the remainder for bike lane improvements on Habersham St. and general improvements citywide to crosswalks and bike paths.

“The proposed TSPLOST funds could go towards any phase of the Middleground Road section of the trail from design to right-of-way acquisition to construction,” said Caila Brown, chair of Friends of Tide to Town and executive director of Bike Walk Savannah. “The City has applied for various grant funds that would be supplemented by TSPLOST.”

The Middleground Road phase of Tide to Town is approximately a three-mile section of trail with the northern terminus at Abercorn and Montgomery Crossroads and the southern terminus at Abercorn/204 Extension and Science Drive at Georgia Southern’s Armstrong campus.

The Tide to Town trail network is also supported by a network of local partners that include the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah as administrators of the Racial & Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The continued expansion of the Tide To Town trail, and biking and walking infrastructure in general, supports the goals of Active People, Healthy Nation,” said Armand Turner, Healthy Savannah’s physical activity program manager and Tide to Town board member. “This national program led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027 is at the heart of the physical activity objectives Healthy Savannah and the “Y” champion through the REACH grant initiative.”

Active People, Healthy Nation seeks to move approximately:
*15 million adults from inactive (no aerobic activity) to some moderate-intensity activity every day, like brisk walking.
*10 million adults from some physical activity to meeting the minimum aerobic physical activity guideline.
*2 million young people from some physical activity to meeting the minimum aerobic physical activity guideline.

To reach this goal, communities including Savannah are utilizing REACH grant funding to help implement evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity across sectors and settings. Providing equitable and inclusive access to safe places for physical activity is foundational to each strategy. The CDC is further monitoring physical activity levels through the National Health Interview Survey and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Statistics released recently by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) in the 19th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report, found that four in ten American adults have obesity, and obesity rates continue to climb nationwide and within population groups. Nineteen states had adult obesity rates over 35 percent, up from 16 states last year. A decade ago, no state had an adult obesity rate at or above 35 percent.

Georgia’s obesity rate in 2021 decreased slightly to 33.9 from 34.3 in 2021, yet remains concerning.

“I’m excited to see that Georgia is one of nine states where the obesity rate dropped year over year,” said Paula Kreissler, Healthy Savannah’s executive director. “But, the percentage of Georgia adults with obesity is still higher than the U.S. average and rates of related conditions such as diabetes and hypertension continue to rank high. We know these persistent increases underscore that obesity is caused by a combination of factors including societal, biological, genetic, and environmental, which are beyond personal choice. This disparity is magnified in Black and Brown communities where food insecurity may be prevalent.”

The CDC estimates obesity is expected to increase U.S. healthcare spending by $170 billion annually, including billions by Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Active People, Healthy Nation; increased physical activity can improve health, and quality of life while reducing health care costs. The program promotes regular physical activity to help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions and provide effective treatment for many of these conditions. Other potential benefits include better school performance and improved military readiness.

“Building active and walkable communities has shown to produce benefits beyond physical health,” said Turner. “They can help support our local economy, result in less air pollution, and create a more cohesive community.”

Construction for another critical link in Tide to Town, Savannah’s urban trail system, is scheduled to begin in early 2023. The final three-mile stretch of the Truman Linear Park Trail from DeRenne Avenue to 52nd Street will fully connect the Lake Mayer Park Trail Loop to the Daffin Park Trail Loop, creating nine miles of continuous off- and on-road bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through the heart of Savannah. The trail construction was fully funded earlier in the year thanks to a $3 million appropriation announced by U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

“Those funds earmarked for the Truman Linear Park Trail will flow from the federal Department of Transportation to Georgia’s DOT and then to the City of Savannah,” said Savannah City Manager Jay Melder. “The measure was passed as part of a federal omnibus spending bill, which is a combination of several appropriation bills that fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year.”

When the Truman Linear Park Trail is completed, it will connect Lake Mayer Park to Daffin Park and will include connections to six neighborhoods, Memorial Health University Medical Center, Guy Minick Youth Complex, Jenkins High School, Bacon Park Tennis Courts, Scarborough Sports Complex, Bacon Park Golf Course, Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex, Chatham County Aquatic Center, the Savanah Botanical Gardens and other public amenities. The multi-use route will provide an ADA-accessible, off-road path for recreational and transportation use by residents and visitors and will feature lighting for nighttime use, security cameras, and emergency call boxes.

The City of Savannah previously had funds in place for trail design, which has now been completed,” said Nick Deffley, director of Sustainability. “We expect construction to get underway in the beginning of 2023.”

The core route of the overall Tide to Town urban trail system is expected to consist of nearly 30 miles of protected walking and bicycling trails throughout Savannah from downtown to marshes and waterways. For more details visit

ABOUT THE YMCA OF COASTAL GEORGIA/HEALTHY SAVANNAH GRANT FOR RACIAL AND ETHNIC APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY HEALTH: In September 2018, Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia were awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the funding is being deployed in an “upstream” approach by the Savannah/Chatham County project team to foster sustainable health equity among Black residents in low-wealth neighborhoods. The aim of the local project, called Healthy Opportunities Powering Equity, or HOPE, is to increase the availability of high-quality nutrition; promote physical activity through creating greater access to safe places to walk, run, bike and play; and foster stronger connections between people and the healthcare providers who serve them. Working with more than 200 community partners and organizations, the team is committed to elevating the health and wellness of the community through policy, systems, and environmental change. In July 2022, Healthy Savannah received the CDC’s 2022 REACH Lark Galloway-Gilliam Award for Advancing Health Equity Challenge. The award recognizes extraordinary individuals and entities whose work has contributed to advancing health

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.

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