Text of the article:
If the houses toward the north end of Busch-man
Street could talk, they’d have stories of how they’ve seen the city
grow. Some of the older homes have tax records that date back to the
1890s and saw the day when there was no indoor plumbing or electricity.
In the near future, the neighborhood will see a new addition of
sorts as the Longleaf Trace continues its stretch to the northeast. This
time the destination is from the Hattiesburg Train Depot, down Buschman
and through the woods and under the railroad trestle to Chain Park.
Mayor Toby Barker and other city officials were on hand last Friday
at the corner of Buschman and Ash streets where city workers are busy
widening and extending the sidewalks, which will serve as a Trace
Barker referred to the Longleaf Trace as one of the
crown jewels of Hattiesburg and South Mississippi.
which starts in Prentiss in Jefferson Davis County, is a 41-mile paved
pedestrian, equestrian, rollerblade and bicycle trail that runs
southwest to Hattiesburg, welcoming people from across the city, state,
region and beyond.
“Our collective vision for the Longleaf Trace
has always been big,” said Barker of the new .85-mile expansion.
The Trace has seen several expansions during the past several years, the
most notable from the University of Southern Mississippi to North Main
Street and North Main to the Hattiesburg Depot. Spurs to Edwards Street
and the Hattiesburg Zoo were completed last year. Barker said the
addition would connect the Trace to one of the city’s hidden treasures –
The $680,000 project is an 80/20 match, which
included a generous donation from the Canadian National Railroad.
Barker thanked City Council members for voting to spend money for
the match, including Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado, whose district
this latest project sits in. With this expansion the Trace now touches
every council member’s ward.
“We want to thank Mayor (Johnny)
Dupree, who was able to get the ball rolling several years ago,” said
Barker. “This has been a long-standing plan for the Longleaf Trace. His
guiding this project through a lot of federal regulations and most
importantly, negotiating with the railroad was no easy task, so we want
to say thank you to him.”
Barker also recognized Neel Schaffer
Engineers as well as Precision Construction, city engineer Lamar Rutland
and Canadian National Railroad for working with the city on the project.
The mayor said with this construction the city would look to where
they could take the Longleaf Trace next.
District 4’s Mary Dryden
encouraged all members of the community to be aware of the Trace and
what it has to offer as far as a healthy way to live.
“We want to
promote healthy lifestyles in our city and things that can involve
entire families and the Trace is a good example of that,” she said.
Construction of the project will take several months, which will
require a connection through the woods and under the railroad trestle
before reaching Chain Park.
Barker noted that the Longleaf Trace
is one of the longer trails in Mississippi, if not the longest.
“With this addition of .85 miles, this will push the Trace to just over
44 miles long,” he said. “That’s a real accomplishment and hopefully
just the start of more connectivity in our city. Our goal is to have
neighborhoods and pathways lead to the Trace, so no matter where you
live in Hattiesburg, there’s a way for you to get here by bike or by
He noted that last year a railbed from Ronie to Edwards
Street was established and at the same time, a pathway at William Carey
“The idea is to create some clear connectivity to WCU
from downtown, connection to Town Square Park,” Barker said. “The more
neighborhoods, the better quality of life we’ll enjoy in the city.
Healthy lifestyles come with that and tourism because people come from
all over to use the Trace.
Mayor Toby Barker will announce the
beginning of construction for the Longleaf Trace extension project. This
project will connect the Longleaf Trace from the Train Depot to Chain
pictures of Chain Park
Lots of paved trails
Commemorates the Leaf River Flood
Amenities include pavilions, picnic tables, playgrounds, benches