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Old Cahawba will soon boast new and improved features thanks to a $400,000 grant.

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park lands $400K grant to enhance trails

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park is one of 10 sites across the state to receive a grant from Gov. Kay Ivey.

The Archaeological Park, based in Orrville, will receive $400,000 to build a multi-use concrete trail at Old Cahawba to connect many of the park’s main features, build an equestrian trail and construct additional restrooms.

Ivey awarded a total of $2.7 million to help expand or build trails or trail amenities at 10 sites, to enhance recreation outlets.

“Alabama is a land of bountiful natural beauty, and our state and local trails are a means to experience and enjoy that outdoor splendor,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to award these grants, and I encourage everyone to enjoy these and any of the many other trails in our state.”

The grants came from funds the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program made available. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the program.

“Trails come in many forms and magnitudes, but they provide character and so much more to our communities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said.

Alabama Historic Commission officials said they were pleased to receive the $400,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreation Trails Program.

“No place exemplifies the state’s bicentennial more than Old Cahawba, Alabama’s first state capital,” Alabama Historical Commission executive director Lisa Jones said. “The AHC is committed to make a number of improvements at the park in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration, such as the widening and creation of pedestrian trails. There will also be a new equine trail, as well as parking lot improvements. A newly-erected ghost structure pavilion will replicate the first Alabama State House and be used as a trailhead.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Walter D. Givhan said the money would be put to good use to improve the park’s appeal with visitors.

“The improvements will enhance the park’s ability to educate visitors about its history, while maintaining its character,” Givhan said. “The enhancements will further the park’s preservation efforts by providing dedicated trails and parking for visitors.”

The ghost structure trailhead will give the park’s staff a central point on which to focus educational programming. The addition of an equine trail will also provide a new experience for visitors, especially for horseback riding and cycling.

“Receiving this grant will allow us to better serve our visitors and to widen the appeal of this very special place,” said Old Cahawba site director Linda Derry. “My first thought, upon hearing about the grant award, was how grateful I am to the many people, organizations and local businesses that wrote letters of support. Reading those letters was a joyful experience. I hope everyone realizes how much we appreciate their support.”