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Completing the Mountain Goat Trail could mean over $1.2 million in annual economic benefits to the area, according to a report by students from the Babson Center for Global Commerce at the University of the South.
“All the stakeholders connected with the Mountain Goat Trail – elected officials, business owners, and private citizens – have always believed that the Trail would bring economic as well as health benefits to the Mountain. Now, thanks to the Babson Center and the University of the South, we have research to support that belief,” said Janice Thomas, board president of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance.
The report, prepared by the Babson Center’s Class of 2015 Carey Fellows, was presented to the MGTA and the public on November 20 in Gailor Auditorium on the University campus. Data including studies of other rail-trail projects, local demographic statistics, and formulas for calculating effects of tourism on a local economy was used in the report.
“The Mountain Goat Trail offers unique opportunities to connect communities, as well as attract tourists from across the Southeast. The construction of the trail also benefits the local communities in many ways ranging from offering a habitat for better outdoor education for local schools to offering community members a place to exercise,” the report concludes.
The Mountain Goat Trail is a rail-to-trail community outdoor recreation project to convert the abandoned Mountain Goat railroad right-of-way into a multi-use recreational corridor connecting Grundy, Marion, and Franklin Counties. Donations to the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance are tax-deductible. For more information, go to mountaingoattrail.org.
Attending the presentation of the economic-impact study of the Mountain Goat Trail were (pictured) MGTA board members Barry Rollins, Dede Clements, Janice Thomas, and David Burnette, and MGTA project coordinator Patrick Dean.