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Mayor hopes town will be next golf cart community

STATHAM - Statham's mayor expects to own a golf cart by this time next year.

He'll need it to traverse the city's new paths and trails that will lead from Statham's homes to its recreation areas, from The Georgia Club to its downtown shops.

Mayor Robert Bridges envisions a town that has trails crisscrossing the city. And he's already partway there.

About a half-mile of the paths have already been paved, with another half-mile planned. Developers building new homes in the area will be required to build the trails.

"I don't want people to think we're just catering to golf carts," Bridges said. "Anything up to 20 miles an hour can ride on this."

That includes bikes, scooters, pedestrians and the golf carts that sit in garages all across towns like Peachtree City, south of Atlanta. There, residents take their golf carts to school and to the grocery store.

Bridges hopes the alternative transportation method will help ease traffic in an area that's quickly feeling the pressure of growth.

A path under Ga. Highway 316 could encourage Georgia Club residents to venture into Statham to shop, if an $800,000 grant is approved by the State Department of Transportation. And Bridges said Statham is ideal for the trail project, with its many alleyways and wide streets.

For years, he said, neighbors have been riding their golf carts down the street to visit one another. Now, he just wants to add the infrastructure so they can go all around town.

"It's really not a new idea," Bridges said. "We know we can make it happen."

Some paving has already been approved, from Broad Street to the last houses on Jefferson Street and Providence Road. Bridges said it will encourage quality growth and that most residents approve of the idea.

Some of the paths will go along Statham's streets, while others will follow sewer lines or creeks, Bridges said. And though Statham does not have a golf course outside The Georgia Club, Bridges said he thinks the development might be a draw. Especially if residents go out and buy golf carts en masse.

Bridges has already worked to revitalize the downtown area, working on Statham's streetscapes and bringing business to buildings that had been empty.

"Time'll take care of what we're trying to do, I think," Bridges said. "Just like we've done downtown, a little bit at a time."