Silver Comet Trail Economic Impact Analysis and Planning Study

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Uses studied: ,
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Place: Cobb, Paulding, and Polk Counties

Overview

West of Atlanta, Georgia, the Silver Comet Trail plans to double its 61 miles. This is expected to bring more than 500,000 new tourist visits and $30 million in new spending to the area, while also generating substantial new tax revenues for the state through taxes on sales, income, and newly developed residential properties near the trail.

Relevance

This study is relevant for advocacy and economic development groups considering a large-scale regional trail expansion. The analysis covers a wide range of benefits categories and highlights ways to apply relevant secondary research.

Location

The trail begins 13 miles northwest of Atlanta and travels through Cobb, Paulding, and Polk counties.

Trail Type

The Silver Comet Trail is a 61-mile paved, shared-use trail. The report considers the effects of a 66-mile expansion.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to estimate the current and potential economic impacts of expanding the trail by 66 miles to inform trail expansion plans and support fundraising for the trail expansion.

This study was funded by the Northwest Georgia Regional Planning Commission.

Findings

  • Currently the trail has about 390,000 trips by tourists that result in $20 million in new spending in the area. Expanding the trail will bring an additional 590,000 trips by tourists, amounting to $30 million in new spending per year.
  • The trail brings an estimated $3.5 million annually in tax revenues to the state, which are expected to increase to about $5 million annually after trail expansion.
  • The authors estimate that the trail will induce new residential development near the trail, bringing in between $650,000 and $2 million in additional property tax revenue. It is unclear whether this development would have happened elsewhere in the community and therefore represents new tax revenue.

Methods

The authors use a combination of primary research for trail user estimates and spending and visitation estimates from other studies in the region.

Citation

Alta/Greenways. 2013. Silver Comet Trail Economic Impact Analysis and Planning Study. Rome, GA:  Northwest Georgia Regional Planning Commission.