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Glen Alpine Ready for FFST

Town of Glen Alpine Mayor Bob Benfield and Clerk Melissa Lalonde are excited about the Fonta Flora State Trail (FFST) coming to the small town. Once home to the largest wooden structure in North Carolina, The Glen Alpine Springs Hotel, Glen Alpine is now a bedroom community. Benfield and Lalonde believe the trail will breathe new life into the town. Whether the FFST will be on the north or south side of the Catawba River near Glen Alpine has not been determined. Either way, Representative Blackwell suggested a loop trail from the main FFST to Linville Street in downtown Glen Alpine. This street houses a bicycle shop, a drug store and has store fronts fitted for a restaurant and an ice cream shop. Mayor Benfield said the town is looking at grant opportunities for trail construction and will work to include a loop instead of an out and back. Rep Blackwell and local trail advocate Beth Heile have now met with all Burke County municipalities to discuss trails as an economic development opportunity. In 2015, Rep Blackwell was the primary sponsor of the bill that created the Fonta Flora State Trail. Last year, Mayor Benfield became a board member of the newly formed Friends of the Fonta Flora State Trail.