Cox gives $6 million to connect Silver Comet to Atlanta

The Silver Comet Trail is poised to become part of the longest continuous paved trail in the United States once it connects to the Atlanta Beltline, thanks to a $6 million donation from the James M. Cox Foundation.

The foundation belongs to the same family that owns Cox Enterprises, the parent company of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Monday, the James M. Cox Foundation announced the gift to the PATH Foundation to help it achieve its goal of creating 300 miles of trails in and around Atlanta by 2021.

Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, serves as chair for the "Mile 300" campaign. He said he first got involved with PATH years ago, partly because he knew from experience how dangerous Atlanta roads could be for cyclists.

"I think that what we have done building trails around our city truly made the city better," Kennedy said. "It's been a great partnership between the public and private sectors."

Kennedy said the Silver Comet, in particular, offers cyclists more opportunities for serious training than more moderate city paths.

The Silver Comet connects with the Chief Ladiga Trail to run about 94.5 miles from Anniston, Alabama to Smyrna in Cobb County. The extension will connect it to the Atlanta Beltline on the Westside, bringing the path to a record-setting 105.2 miles long.