City to officially open first-ever Rail Trail
The city of Bessemer will cut the ribbon on the first phase of its first-ever Rails to Trail project on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 10 a.m. The ribbon-cutting will take place at the trailhead at 15th Street South and Fairfax Avenue. Parking will be available for the event at the Bessemer Housing Authority’s Main Office at 1515 Fairfax Avenue or on Fairfax Avenue. Bessemer’s “Rail-Trail” was once an elevated railroad line known as the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad that ran parallel to Highway 150, or 14th Street South in Bessemer, from 1946 to 1988. The line was abandoned in 1988 and CSX railroad donated the land to the city. City officials have secured federal and state funding to convert the former railroad line into a multi-use trail. The first-phase of the trail stretches from Fairfax Avenue to Berkley Avenue, and includes the installation of new sidewalks along Fairfax Avenue. A second-phase of the project is expected to start later this year and will include the construction of a trail bridge over Berkley Avenue. A third phase is being planned to link the rail-trail to the Bessemer Recreation Center by way of a pedestrian bridge. City officials envision the trail eventually stretching from downtown Bessemer and to Lakeshore Drive, where it will connect with the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System. A short dedication program will take place before the Mayor, City Council and members of the public take a walk on the newly opened trail.