A04 with Girtman Grand Ave Trail with Bike  0034.jpg

GETAWAY — A lone cyclist tries the Spring-to-Spring Trail along Grand Avenue in Glenwood.

It’s incredibly humbling to realize how the decisions made by the County Council can impact our community and our lives far into the future. Volusia County’s trail system is a prime example.

Back in 1999, now some 21 years ago, the council had the foresight to adopt our county’s first trails plan. And just a few years later, in 2004, the council had the political mettle to earmark $1 million a year in ECHO funds to help pay for trail projects.

Those decisions, along with some key partnerships with the state, continue to pay dividends to this day, including right here in West Volusia. We’re now blessed with a first-class, interconnected trails system that’s extremely popular with residents and visitors. And it continues to grow and get even better.

On April 21, I was proud and excited to vote, along with the rest of my council colleagues, to approve contracts for two new trail segments in the DeLeon Springs area.

The first project is for the building of an approximately 1.2-mile leg of the Spring-to-Spring Trail.

The new segment will start at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Baxter Street and follow a path along Baxter Street and Ponce DeLeon Boulevard, then through the woods to Spring Garden Avenue’s intersection with U.S. Highway 17. When complete, the Spring-to-Spring Trail will stretch 26 miles from Gemini Springs Park in DeBary all the way north to DeLeon Springs State Park.

The second project, about a half-mile long, will connect the Spring-to-Spring Trail segment above to just east of the entrances to DeLeon Springs State Park and Chuck Lennon Park. The projects are being funded by a combination of ECHO funds and a state grant through the Florida Department of Transportation’s SUN Trail program.

When the work is done, both projects will enhance recreational opportunities for walkers, joggers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts for years to come.

But that’s not all: At a time when many businesses are struggling, these construction contracts — which combined total $1.2 million — are a financial boost for two local companies, one in Pierson and the other in Ormond Beach, and a way to support local jobs and get money moving through our economy.

With recreational facilities so essential to our quality of life, more projects are in the pipeline. And in the coming months, as we start to recover from the coronavirus crisis, more and more of our businesses will be springing back to life.

And your county government will be right there too, providing essential services and building on the efforts of the County Council members who came before us to continue improving our community and our economy and making decisions that will shape our future for decades to come.

— Girtman is a member of the Volusia County Council, representing DeLand-area District 1. She also helps lead the county’s Complete Count Committee for the census.