Blazing trails in Titusville and Brevard County, Florida

ecrrt ribbon cutting
Florida and Titusville officials and VIPs celebrate the trail opening. Photo by Lisa Hamel, Hometown News

In June 2018, Florida’s Greenways and Trails Council honored Titusville with its Trail Town designation in honor of the community’s commitment to providing a safe, comfortable, and fun place to walk, bike, and more. The city of 42,000 is only the second Florida community to earn the recognition. The honor caps decades of trail development work that began when the state of Florida bought the land along the former East Central Regional rail corridor and leased it back to Volusia and Brevard counties to develop 50 miles of trail. Two long stretches of East Coast Greenway were designated in 2018: 5.5 miles in Brevard County and 13.7 miles in Volusia County.

Economic Development Director Edyie McCall credits Jim Tulley, Titusville mayor from 2008-2016, with seeing the economic potential of trails along with City Manager Scott Larese. They gave McCall an extra title. “I may be the only city economic development director who is also the trail coordinator,” she laughs.

With good reason. “It’s part of every conversation when we’re talking with prospective businesses, and they all get it,” McCall says. Four-plus miles of the trail run right through the town’s main street. The town’s welcome center shares space with a bike shop. A marketing campaign proclaims “We’re #BlazingTrails.” Recent data shows a 3 percent increase in property value for both residential and commercial properties near the trail. “That speaks volumes to elected officials when you’re trying to pitch them on trails,” says McCall. 

Brevard County includes, in addition to Titusville, Cape Canaveral and its Air Force base. “For us in Brevard County, the greenway is more than just a trail. It’s a safe route to school, it’s a means of travel to bus stops and to jobs,” says Sarah Kraum, multi-modal program specialist with the county’s Space Coast Transportation Planning Organizations. Kraum notes, “There’s also the stats on bike/pedestrian safety,” where Florida ranks as the second worst state. “Trails offer a safe, separated corridor, so they are good for economic development, health, and safety.”

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