The Tweetsie Rail Trail is a 10-mile project along the former ET&WNC railroad right-of-way between Johnson City and Elizabethton. Alta developed a master plan for converting the existing rail line to a trail, addressing issues such as safety, security, accessibility, accepted uses, development costs, and providing an overall guide for trail development.

In addition to the master plan, Alta prepared a memorandum that summarized the economic and social impact and benefits of the project. Analyzing a host of data from local, state, and federal sources, Alta estimated indirect impacts such as job creation, an increase in regional sales from earned income, and potential impacts to property values benefits. The team identified existing businesses providing goods and services that would be utilized by trail users, and identified trail users’ needs currently not being met within the local marketplace. As a result of this data, Alta recommended ways to maximize economic benefits of the Johnson City rail-trail through tourism, marketing, and promotion.

We also identified potential business development opportunities and identified cost-benefit for future residential development. Alta made recommendations for trail programming opportunities such as special events, fundraisers, festivals, and other educational activities associated with the trail. For example, we proposed that the Elizabethton High School “Cyclones” were the 2004 Men’s Cross Country State Champions and the team could host a 5K or 10K “fun run” on the trail to celebrate their program, and support the use of the trail for recreational activities.

Phase 1 between Johnson City and Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton was completed in the summer of 2014.