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Tanglefoot Trail set for Aug. 17 opening

Officials connected to the Tanglefoot Trail told the Mississippi Business Journal last month that the multi-use recreational trail would be open by football season.

Late last week, a date was attached to that estimate.

A grand opening ceremony is set for Aug. 17 in Houston and New Albany, which represent the northern and southern ends of the 44-mile trail. A silver railroad spike will be carried through each town, and will be driven into the ground in Pontotoc.

The trail is an old Gulf Mobile & Ohio railroad bed that has been paved. Whistle stops have been added in Houlka, Ecru, Algoma and Ingomar. A study conducted last year said the trail could draw 100,000 visitors annually, and have an economic impact of about $5 million in the seven towns it passes through.

Betsey Hamilton, chairperson of the GM&O Rails to Trails Recreational District, said in June that those numbers are preliminary, and are based on data from South Mississippi’s Longleaf Trace Recreational Trail. “I don’t know we’ll be that big” immediately, Hamilton said.

Tanglefoot was paid for with a $9.6 million federal transportation grant, to go with $450,000 in state and local money.

Construction started last year.

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