Through an enormous greenway initiative, the Singing River Trail continues to blaze a path that will eventually connect the towns in North Alabama with over 200 miles of outdoor trail system. Once completed, the trail will, of course, offer opportunities for outdoor recreation, health and wellness. The Singing River Trail is so much more than a physical pathway cut across the land, though. It’s the soil upon which the trail will grow, and subsequently empower a quarter of Alabama’s population through economic development and growth among small businesses, that is the true connector. It’s good, fertile soil. And the opportunities to grow and succeed are endless.
Fresh off a successful Singing River Trail Launch Tank event – a “Shark Tank” style competition with a focus on helping entrepreneurs grow new or existing small businesses – the startup economy in North Alabama is booming; and the Singing River Trail is at the forefront of the boom.
“We are proving on a daily basis that people are excited to have the opportunity to invest in something that’s never really happened before,” said SRT Executive Director John Kvach. “If you plant a seed in good soil, it grows. But no one has ever taken the time in rural communities to plant the seeds.”
Kvach said it’s almost like communities along the SRT are being given bags of seeds to plant in the “good soil,” even though they have had “people who are willing to put time, talent and treasure” into this economic growth all along.
“They have the soil, but no one has ever told them it’s theirs to use,” he explained. “We’re here to help them nurture it and grow it.”
Opportunity For Growth
The winners of the 2023 SRT Launch Tank grant were Nathan Tucker and Ash Moorer, owners of Rocket City Electric Bike Rentals. Their business has already begun to partner with the Singing River Trail, along with several of the other eight Launch Tank finalists.
“Something like outdoor recreation or a greenway is providing that sense of, ‘I’m investing in what’s around me,’” Kvach said. “That’s key. You don’t have to move away to start something. You can start it right where you are. It’s not just good for North Alabama, it’s good for all of Alabama.”
As more opportunities are created, as more communities and individuals buy into the Singing River Trail, the seeds that have been planted in the “good soil” will grow and thrive. North Alabama, a part of the state that is already steeped in natural and cultural beauty, will engage and connect and develop like never before. And Kvach’s goal to change “sheltering in place” into “succeeding in place,” will become the norm.