Pamplin, VA - The Town of Pamplin is one step closer to bringing the High Bridge Trail State Park into its downtown.
Town Council joined Prince Edward County by passing a resolution last week, expressing support for the extension.
The plan was always to have the western portion of the High Bridge Trail start in downtown Pamplin.
Once construction began, however workers realized it's too close to one of Norfolk Southern's active lines and a liability for the railroad.
Just recently, Norfolk Southern has agreed to abandon the line, offering the town new hope.
"I can't think of a soul in and around Pamplin that isn't welcoming the trail here," said Mayor Robert Mitchell.
The High Bridge Trail State Park welcomes 200,000 bikers, hikers and equestrians each year, generating millions of dollars in revenue for the handful of communities along the way.
"Having a state park in or near your community really does stimulate outdoor recreation and tourism spending," said Joe Elton, Director Virginia State Parks and Recreation.
Tight now, Pamplin is missing out, however. The trail drops off in an empty parking lot about a mile away, in Prince Edward County.
Mayor Robert Mitchell is working with Norfolk Southern, the state Department of Parks and Recreation and VDOT to extend the trail into Pamplin's Main Street, bringing new hope to downtown.
In place of buildings, abandoned by the once bustling tobacco industry, he envisions a bike shop, a light food service, an ice cream parlor and parking facilities.
It's a dream the mayor believes will become reality in the next five years.
"We're hoping we can match up visitors with some businesses here," Mitchell said.
Between buying the land and making the needed improvements, the state will shell out an estimated $100,000 to extend the trail.
The next hurdle is convincing business owners to relocate to Pamplin's downtown.