AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL MAP KIOSK

 

During April a small group of Amelia Island Trail volunteers worked quietly to construct a very sturdy and attractive map and information kiosk at the AIT’s North Trailhead within Nassau County’s Peters Point Beachfront Park.  When completed, the kiosk will sport six display panels which will showcase information and maps for the AIT and the East Coast Greenway.   It will also house maps depicting future trails planned for Amelia Island and provide information about Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc.  Construction is nearly done; remaining work consists of some finishing tasks, creation and installation of the maps and displays, and marking of the handicap parking and access parts of the parking lot.

 

Construction of the kiosk was definitely a group effort but Allen Gould, a master carpenter who also happens to be a very accomplished and dedicated bicyclist, led the effort for us.  Under his guidance and watchful eye, a handful of enthusiastic amateur carpenters and a few professionals turned a plan on paper into a functional project. 

 

In addition to all our “Friends” members who made contributions, bought T-shirts and provided volunteer labor, I’d like to recognize several other contributors to this specific project who provided assistance at key times during construction including:  Billy Stonebreaker (Nassau County), Mark and Sherry Bean (BeanBuilders),  Johnny Meyers (Meyers Trucking), Asa Gillette (Gillette and Associates), Ronnie Mixon (Top Quality Concrete), and Mark Cutshaw (Florida Public Utilities) and his field crew led by Billy Clardy. We anticipate holding a dedication ceremony for the kiosk sometime in May or early June to recognize all those who contributed to this project.

 

Below you can see a snapshot of the kiosk as of April 29th.

 

Mike Pikula

 

 

 

AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL NEWS
MARCH, 2014

Our Amelia Island Trail (AIT) has been a tremendous success since it was completed last year.  Every day our local residents and guests on Amelia Island enjoy a walk, run or ride on this beautiful trail.  Thanks to the work of some dedicated volunteers, local and state officials, and donors our Trail is functioning just as designed and will provide many years of enjoyment.  Here are a few bits of current information about the AIT and related activities:

  • In October 2013, the 6.2 mile Amelia Island Trail was formally designated as part of the East Coast Greenway (ECG). When completed, the ECG will include 3,000 “trail-miles” from Northern Maine to Key West, Florida. The ECG, which traverses 15 states, is one of 16 trails in the National Millennium Trail System.  The AIT is one of the first parts of the ECG established in Florida.
  • Our volunteer team and Nassau County officials have submitted a formal request to the North Florida Transportation Planning Office (NFTPO) for funding of a four mile extension to the existing AIT. 
  • During 2013, Friends of the Amelia Island Trail sponsored two trail maintenance work days along the AIT.  Volunteers collected trash and trimmed encroaching foliage.
  • Nassau County and Fernandina Beach submitted another proposal in 2013 to the NFTPO to construct a 2.2 mile, paved, off-road trail from athletic fields at the end of Bailey Rd., to a beach access on S. Fletcher Av.  It is scheduled for design/construction in 2016-2018.
  • Other trail volunteers are planning additional trails on Amelia Island including an historic trail and an off-road trail through wooded areas.
  • Segment 3 of the Timucuan Trail on Little Talbot Island will be completed in April and will connect with the AIT via the fishing bridge over Nassau Sound.  Other segments are planned in Duval County.
  • Combining the completed and planned 17.3 trail-miles in Duval, with the completed and planned 12.4 trail-miles in Nassau, we will someday have 29.7 traffic-free trail-miles available in our area.
  • In recognition of the 1-year anniversary of the Amelia Island Trail, our volunteers will be conducting counts and surveys of trail users in May, 2014.  This data will help us document trail activity and assist with future trail planning.
  • Using funds raised through donations and T-shirt sales, Friends of the Amelia Island Trail will construct a Map/Information Kiosk at its northern trailhead (Peters Point Park) this spring.

 

Friends of the Amelia Island Trail will begin its 2014 Funding Campaign in March.  Your continued support will be greatly appreciated as we ask for volunteers and for donations.  I’ll see you on the trail!

Mike Pikula, President,
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail
.

 

AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL
RIBBON CUTTING!

“We have a Trail!  A very, very nice Trail.”

Those words, or words to that effect, were heard from many attendees Saturday morning, May 11th, as the Trail Celebration ended and the 9am Ribbon-Cutting took place under a bright blue sky for the brand new Amelia Island Trail.  Guest speakers provided background information, thanked some of the many responsible for the Trail’s creation, and passed on additional good news to a crowd of approximately 150-200 attendees about riding, running and walking on Amelia Island.  Phil Scanlan acted as our Master of Ceremonies recognizing many instrumental supporters of the Trail, and also praised Mr. Joel Beckham for his volunteer work supporting the Bikes for Barnabus program.  Mr. Herb Hiller, representing the East Coast Greenway Alliance, recognized the important work of the Amelia Island Tail Team and described how the AIT will fit in the national plan for a trail from Maine through Florida.  Robert Joseph, Manager of Talbot Islands State Parks (including Amelia Island State Park) announced that additional mileage will soon be added to the Timucuan Trail on Big Talbot Island.  Mike Pikula thanked some of the many behind-the-scenes planners and doers in our extended community who made the Trail possible and described plans for Friends of the Amelia Island Trail.  Fernandina Beach Mayor Sarah Pelican announced that the City of Fernandina will be recognized on May 13th by the League of American Bicyclists with a Bronze level award as a Bicycle Friendly City.  Chairman of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners Danny Leeper let us know about the next trail project coming to Nassau County along Simmons Road connecting the City ball fields off Bailey Rd to South Fletcher Av.  Katie Ross, representing U.S. Senator Nelson, read a letter congratulating the community on the completion of the Trail.  And Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper spoke about keeping trail users safe and reminded us to note and comply with traffic control signs on the AIT.

After the remarks, Commissioner Leeper and Mayor Pelican cut the ribbon releasing bicyclists, runners and walkers to try out the Trail!  You should try it out, too.

 

 

AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL CELEBRATION!

In a matter of hours, the Celebration Event for the opening of the Amelia Island Trail will happen.  If you are a local walker, runner or bicyclist you don’t want to miss this.  Very probably this will be the only such event you will ever attend for the opening of a major regional trail, and thus earn the right to tell stories about it to your grandchildren, or at least to your houseguests who may ask you about the trail.  The recognition portion of the program will start promptly on 8:30am on Saturday, May 11th, at Peters Point Beachfront Park (4600 Peters Point Rd).  It will be immediately followed by a ribbon-cutting, then all walkers, runners and bicyclists will be invited to head off down the trail for whatever distance they choose (remember, you’ll need to get back to the start, too).  Participants are urged to arrive early and be ready to walk, run or ride by about 8:15 as there will be no opportunity to unload bikes or put on running shoes once the speeches begin.  You’ll also have an opportunity before and after the event to visit membership booths for Walkin’ Nassau, Amelia Island Runners Club, and the North Florida Bicycle Club.   If you have an Amelia Island Trail T-shirt, wear it; if you don’t have one, there will be a limited number for sale before the event starts.  

WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE TRAIL!

 

4/25/2013      AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL, CONSTRUCTION UPDATE BY MIKE PIKULA

Well, we are getting really close to an official opening by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).  The 99% acceptance inspection was held on Tuesday, April 23.  At that inspection, a number of matters were raised and discussed.  A few items did require the contractor to take action.  Of interest to our readers, a small pothole appeared in the Trail near Racquet Park Rd within the Omni-Amelia Island Plantation.  The contractor announced that he would remove all the barrels and barricades starting April 24th.  A large tree toppled across A1A Sunday in the latest storm; it did not damage the Trail.  Several trees do require trimming along the Trail.  Two “Trail Crossing” signs need to be relocated.  The flashing beacon near the southernmost roundabout which was temporarily removed during construction is now re-installed.  The flume created to aid drainage of rainwater off the Trail was considered completed.  Special order signs depicting the Amelia Island Trail logo, and signs for the East Coast Greenway arrived and were installed at six locations along the Trail.

I visited the Trail late this afternoon (Thursday, April 25, 2013) and indeed all the barrels and barricades are now removed.  The pothole has been repaired.  The “Trail Crossing” signs were relocated.

We are currently awaiting FDOT’s determination to accept the Trail, or not.  We’ll let you know as soon as FDOT releases its decision, probably within a few days. Remember, our “Celebration” for the Trail is at 8:30am, on Saturday, May 11th at Peters Point Park.

PATCHED POTHOLE PHOTO BELOW

 

 

4/19/2013     AIT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

 
Major construction of the Trail is now complete, but some "finishing touches" are still under way.  This week the contractor addressed a drainage issue by creating a concrete flume (see photos below) to drain rainwater off the trail near Enclave Manor Rd, just south of Orange Av.  All safety railings are now in place and most painting and striping is complete.  Flashing lights for pedestrian/bicycle crossings are now operable at Old Bluff Road and Amelia Island Parkway near the Ritz. Some special order signs for the trail have not yet arrived.  The contractor has begun trail clean-up.  The Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled their 99% site inspection for Tuesday, April 23rd.  The results of that inspection will allow FDOT to determine if the Trail is ready to be accepted by the State.  If deficiencies are noted, the contractor will be advised of them and given direction to correct them. From all appearances and from on-site feedback from the contractor's representatives, FDOT is expected to accept the Trail next week.
 

Although the Trail is not officially open yet, and barricades and barrels are still in place, many people have already been using and enjoying the trail. Response from these users is very positive. However, some concerns have already surfaced about safety.  The Trail crosses numerous side streets and driveways and there are many stop signs for trail users to heed when approaching those crossings.  Some local resident motorists have already noted cyclists disregarding these stop signs.  Being on the Trail is no guarantee there will not be danger from automobiles; Trail walkers and cyclists must use great care when approaching these intersections as the motorists may not see you.  Be careful out there and be sure your kids don't get too far ahead of you!

New concrete flume to correct rainwater drainage issue

 

On the Amelia Island Trail looking north alongside S.Fletcher Av. Clean and green!

 

 

  AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL (AIT)
                  CONSTRUCTION UPDATE, 3-31-2013
 
Work has continued this past week with a focus on the "finishing touches".  More informational and traffic control signs have gone up, some more crosswalks were painted with the thick white paint, and some stop bars were painted across the right sides of the trail surface where stop signs are or will be installed. There are still more signs to be installed, guard rails to erect and paint to be applied, but completion is now very close.  The FDOT Project Manager has scheduled the 95% FDOT inspection for Thursday, April 4th.  Once that inspection is complete a "punch list" of any discrepancies will be produced and the contractor will begin addressing them.  When this punch list is cleared we expect FDOT to open the trail for public use. 
 
Also last week J. B. Coxwell, the contractor for the project, poured asphalt on the 1100' Julia Street Connector Trail, and they are now preping it for completion for about the same time as the AIT.  See photos below.
 
Don't forget to "save the date" of Saturday, May 11, for the Opening Celebration at Peters Point Park.
  

 

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
                                     
3/24/2013
 
Construction on the Amelia Island Trail continues.  This past week much of the final detail work was accomplished including erection of more signs (No Motor Vehicles, Stop, Crossing, etc.), some painting, and installation of detectible warning surface pads at street crossings.  Teams finished the signs and warning lights at Old Bluff Road (see photo) which is now fully operable (push to cross), and have installed the crossing lights (not yet operable) at the crossing of Amelia Island Parkway near the Ritz Carlton.  Signs are not yet completed on all the trail, crosswalks and stop bars remain to be painted, and some drainage work remains near Orange Av.  Barrels and "Road Closed" barricades remain in place as there is still work in progress.  Although it is soooo tempting to ride the trail now, it is not yet open to the public.  Not long, now!  Don't forget to save the date of May 11 at 8:30am, for our Opening Celebration at Peters Point Park.
 
Julia Street Connector Trail.  Nassau County received easement authority from the Ritz Carlton Hotel to build a section of this new trail on Ritz property in order to avoid cutting trees.  With this authority, J. B. Coxwell was given the "Go Ahead" to start work and ground was cleared last week.  Construction on this paved, 1100' long, 7'-wide trail is now also under way.  It will connect an existing paved sidewalk alongside the Amelia Island Parkway, and the American Beach Community Center, with the AIT. (see photo below).

                    AIT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE, 3-12-2013
 
Trail construction continues as we close in on completion of the AIT.  On Monday, March 11th, the FDOT held its 75% review with the prime contractor, J. B. Coxwell Construction.  The news was almost all good.  Mr. Eddie Green, Coxwell's Project Manager, let us know that he is pressing hard to complete the trail by late March or early April.  All sections of the AIT will be opened on the same day; there will not be any phased opening of sections.  Virtually all of the asphalt work is done, but there is still other work to do.  The trail crossing near Old Bluff Road was begun on 3/11/13 which will include a slight widening of A1A, construction of a protected mid-street concrete curbing , pavement painting and installation of a push-to-cross flashing light.  Other remaining work includes posting signage; repainting stop bars on crossing roads; installation of additional railings and pedestrian "detectible warning surfaces"; completion of some drainage repairs and curbing work; and asphalt finishing.  Coxwell also plans to begin construction on the 700' connecting trail along Julia Street as soon as an easement from private property owners is received by Nassau County. This additional trail segment will connect the AIT with the existing sidewalk near the American Beach Community Center.
 
Parts of the AIT received some "un-official" pedestrian traffic on Sunday, as Concours d' Elegance patrons walked from their cars to the event venue near the Ritz Carlton (see photo); construction in that area was on hold Saturday and Sunday just for the Concours.  Although the entire trail will open for public use very soon, FDOT reminds us that the trail is still an active construction zone, and we must stay off of it so Coxwell can complete their tasks.  
 
A new date for the Opening Celebration was determined by the planning committee.  The public event to celebrate the AIT opening will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 8:30-9am at Peters Point Park.  See photos below:

Coming soon to an island near you!

 

The Amelia Island Trail is taking shape and will be ready for bicyclists, walkers and runners in the spring of 2013.  After more than a decade filled with grant submissions, letters of justification, public meetings, negotiations, and lots of professional planning and support, construction began on October 15th, 2012.  The 6.2 mile, paved, off-road, multi-use trail is scheduled for completion spring 2013. 

Amelia Island has long been a favored destination for area cyclists and runners especially in the past two years since scenic coastal Highway A1A was resurfaced and designated bicycle lanes were added.  Now with the addition of the Amelia Island Trail (AIT), cyclists and runners will soon have more options as the AIT will provide a safer alternative route; it will be especially welcomed by families and young cyclists who are not comfortable riding in bicycle lanes alongside highway traffic. 

The design of the AIT takes full advantage of the tree canopy alongside A1A and routes much of the trail through a shaded and wind-shielded course.  It will begin at the north trailhead, Nassau County’s Peters Point Park, near the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  For a short stretch, the trail is sited directly adjacent to A1A.  After approximately 1 mile of straight and level, it will cross the highway into a wooded section and begin a game of “peek-a-boo” with A1A as it weaves in and out of the tree line, passes through the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and works its way much like a meandering river to its south trailhead, the Amelia Island State Park.  By using existing parks as trailheads and taking advantage of parking lots and restroom already in place, limited trail funds were stretched to build more actual trail. If you enjoy the Jax-Baldwin Railtrail, you will love the new AIT!

The AIT will connect across the Nassau Sound with the Timucuan Trail, which is being completed in phases on the Talbot Islands.  Eventually, bicyclists and runners will have available over 15 miles of continuous multi-use trail for their use.  These trails are also destined to become part of the East Coast Greenway (www.greenway.org) which is planned to connect Calais, Maine with Key West, Florida.

The trail didn’t just happen.  With strong community support, our North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (NFTPO) agreed it had regional significance and was instrumental in directing $2.3 million of federal transportation enhancement funds to the project enabling the Florida Department of Transportation to design and contract for its construction.  The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort worked closely with FDOT planners to optimize the AIT’s route through their property.  Continuity and passion for the project was provided by the Amelia Island Trail Team, a coalition of bikers, runners, government officials and local businesses in Nassau County and Fernandina Beach which kept the project on the front burner for years.

To insure the AIT has necessary trailside amenities and is maintained properly, a local non-profit organization has been created.  The “Friends of the Amelia Island Trail” is an IRS-approved 501 (c) (3) charitable corporation formed with the purpose of maintaining and improving the AIT.  Donations are fully tax-deductible and may be sent to Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, POBox 16113, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32035. 

We anticipate holding a grand opening ceremony on or about March 1st and we will announce it through this website, and other media sources.

 

 

 

 

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