Dalton City Council approves Mill Creek Riverwalk

Jan. 18—City of Dalton officials say a walking and biking trail connecting the Crown Mill area to Haig Mill Lake Park should be finished by this fall.

The City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to award a $2.234 million contract to Northwest Georgia Paving of Calhoun for the project, currently called the Mill Creek Riverwalk. Mayor David Pennington typically votes only if there is a tie.

"The construction and completion schedule is nine months," said City Administrator Andrew Parker. "That puts us into the fall. But we expect that if the weather cooperates we could be finished by late summer."

The trail will be about 1.1 miles from Eagle Walk trail to the trail around Haig Mill Lake Park. There will also be a half-mile spur to Mallard Road.

The Eagle Walk at Mill Creek, a half-mile walking and biking trail just off Chattanooga Avenue that runs parallel to Mill Creek, was constructed as an Eagle Scout project about nine years ago.

The council members lauded Dalton businessman Paul Belk who along with his partner, the late Horace Sewell, donated much of the land for the riverwalk.

The council members also voted 4-0 to approve a $33,000 contract with Pyrotechnico of New Castle, Pennsylvania, to provide the fireworks show for the city's Fourth of July celebration. The contract calls for more than 1,000 shells to be fired. Pyrotechnico has provided the fireworks for the city for the past three years.

The council members voted 4-0 to transfer property and vehicles for the Dalton-Whitfield Senior Center to Whitfield County. The senior center was previously jointly funded by the city and county and operated by the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department. Last year the county agreed to solely fund and operate the senior center starting Jan. 1 of this year.

The council members honored the Rev. Nicky Starling and Pennington with their 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Awards.

Pennington said few in the community have done more to work in the spirit of King than Starling.

"Besides pastoring his own church (Greater St. James Overcoming Church of God), he's been a tremendous help with the (Mack Gaston) community center, rebuilding the community center," Pennington said. "Nicky has meant a lot to this community for a long time."

The other council members surprised Pennington by naming him the co-recipient of the award.

Council member Tyree Goodlett said the award was for Pennington's "contributions to others' lives" during his time as mayor. Goodlett said Pennington's "leadership has been invaluable on key projects and initiatives" including the Mack Gaston Community Center, which was rebuilt during Pennington's first time in office.