Coastal Georgia Greenway and the Georgia Conservancy released a concept of what a beautified segment of the East Coast Greenway could look like along U.S. Highway 17 just south of Darien.

“This is what we call design guidelines, and so we’ve developed this best case scenario,” said Jo Hickson, executive director of Coastal Georgia Greenway. “We just picked an actual site instead of a hypothetical one.”

While construction of the design is currently unfunded, it would beatify the area along U.S. 17 at Butler Island Plantation between Darien and Brunswick. It takes into account two historic structures, the old Butler Dairy barn and ice cream factory, and incorporates them into the design.

It would more or less be a stop along the segment of the greenway that travels along U.S. 17. Hickson said a number of areas like this are planned, but planners hope most of the greenway will be “off-road,” allowing those using it to appreciate nature.

Hickson’s organization is part of the large East Coast Greenway, which wants to have a paved trail that bikers, hikers and other assorted pedestrians can use to travel safely from Maine all the way to Florida. Local governments are being asked to pitch in, while the greenway organizations do their best to secure funding for the projects. Brunswick has contributed some. Glynn County has offered vocal support to the project, but has yet to make large monetary or construction contributions.

Conceptual plans and design strategies like this one are offered as prototypes with features that can be applied to similar greenway segments, according to a release from the conservancy, which is partnering with the greenway on the project.

“We wanted to have something saying, ‘This is what it could look like,’” Hickson said.

Coastal Georgia Greenway will be meeting in Savannah to present the designs and get the process started on Tuesday. After that, the next step in the building process would be to meet with the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Transportation and the city of Darien, Hickson said.

While the design is part of an overall plan and mostly representative of what the Greenway group would like the whole trail to look like, Hickson said they hope to have something very similar actually come to fruition.

Coastal Georgia Greenway helps fund the construction of greenway segments through grants and donations. Hickson said they have recently been awarded a $100,000 grant from the state of Georgia and expect requests for proposals to be sent out soon by cities and counties to see what they could do with the money.

Segments of the greenway are built locally, meaning the governments of the area the trail runs through are responsible for building and maintaining their portions.

“Very thankful to local communities for their support. It’s been over 20 year and they’re still very congenial when we get funding for a section of trail in their area,” Hickson said. “I just really want to thank all of our supporters.

View this article online at to see the conceptual drawing.