As cooler temperatures begin to peer around the corner, visitors who choose to take advantage of the change in seasons along the Highlands to Islands Trail may notice a new addition to the trail’s Chicopee Section.
"For several years now, Hall County Government has worked closely with representatives from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 Public Art Committee to expand public art in public places across our community," Hall County Public Information Officer Katie Crumley said. "Our latest collaboration is a trio of ’bottle trees’ alongside the trail near the entrance to the Chicopee Mill Village area."
The trunk and branches of the bottle trees were created by students in the welding class at North Hall High School. The various empty bottles which compose the trees’ "leaves" were collected by employees within Hall County’s Resource Recovery Division and were installed by inmate crews from the Hall County Correctional Institute.
"Seeing how all of these various groups came together to make this piece of art available to the masses really speaks to the type of community we have here in Hall County," Vision 2030 Public Art Chair Frank Norton, Jr. said. "Public art has really become a collaborative effort between artists, the private sector and government. It’s this type of partnership that has made public art an integral component of the Hall County community."
Hall County’s Strategic Plan, adopted by the Hall County Board of Commissioners in 2018, also places emphasis on enhancing the County’s greenways and improving pedestrian structure-two action items which tie directly to the placement of public art on the trail.
"Anything we can do to enhance the Highlands to Islands Trail and encourage the public’s use of that amenity is a positive move," Assistant Hall County Administrator Marty Nix said. "The trail unites this community in a real, tangible way, and art can do the same thing."
The Highlands to Islands Trail is a planned 15-mile looped trail system that will ultimately connect the downtown Gainesville Square and Rock Creek Greenway to the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville Campus.