Trail aims to safely connect Fernandina schools to downtown waterfront

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Tom and Karen Stutz spent Wednesday exploring downtown Fernandina Beach on bike.

They said cycling is the best way to explore a new city.

“We wanted to get a chance to see the city, the old town district, much further than we could walk,” Tom Stutz said.

The couple said there isn’t as many designated bike trails in Fernandina as there are in other places they’ve traveled.

“We frequently ride 30-40 miles at a time. When you’re on a bike path, it feels really great,” Tom Stutz said.

Plans have been proposed to install a multi-use trail connecting the city’s schools to the historic downtown.

The path would run down Hickory Street by the school and ball fields, eventually turning to pass the Peck Center before making it all the way down to the waterfront at Fernandina Harbor Marina.

“I think there should be as much bike paths and things off the road as possible. You get nervous when you’re riding with traffic," Tom Stutz said.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, 39 children in the state died during 2018 while walking or riding bikes.

A ‘Schools to Waterfront Trail’ project leader told Action News Jax the path is about safety.

He also said it aims to connect a working class neighborhood with resources and other areas of the community.

Organizers said they’d be pursuing state and federal grants to pay for the work.

They said it would take between 5 to 10 years to complete the project.