New Cornelia City Park Story Trail opens Sunday

Troyce and Cristina Simmons show off the newly installed display case on the story trail in Cornelia City Park. (Jerry Neace/

The city of Cornelia and Pebble Ministry will host the first-ever Story Trail at Cornelia City Park this weekend.

The book featured on the trail will be “Mama Bird Papa Bird” by White County author Wanda Obermeier. A ribbon cutting for the inaugural Story Trail is scheduled between 2:45 and 3 p.m.

According to Pebble Ministry Founder Troyce Simmons, this is the first trail in Northeast Georgia outside of Hall County.

What is a story trail?

Cristina and Troyce Simmons take a leisurely stroll down the story trail at Cornelia City Park. (Jerry Neace/

The Story Trail has display cases spaced along the path. A page from a book is inserted in each case for walkers to read along the route. Once you have finished the trail, you have also completed a book.

This Sunday, a page from “Mama Bird Papa Bird” will be in each display case. The book will be shared in English and Spanish to include as many community members as possible.

“Let’s say a grandmother and grandson, it gives them that time together, their family time. The young kid gets to read, gets education. They get to exercise because they are walking,”  says Simmons. “Now, just imagine you got another family that’s there – you’re doing community, you’re reading this book together. So you get exercise, education, community, and family all in one setting.”

Origins and funding

According to Pebble Ministry Chief Financial Officer Cristina Simmons, the idea for the Story Trail came from Christine Ta, a ministry board member.

The Simmons approached Cornelia City Manager Dee Anderson with the idea, and they say he was in full support.

The Story Trail is funded through a $5,000 grant from AARP. (Jerry Neace/

Pebble Ministry, Inc. applied for the AARP Community Challenge this past winter. In June, they received a $5,000 grant to fund the project.

The money will be used to purchase a year’s worth of books and maintain the Story Trail.

“We typically will buy three books,” says Simmons. “One for the library, and the other two will be used for the displays.”

Pebble Ministry invites the community to attend Sunday’s ribbon-cutting and inaugural trail walk. Cornelia City Park is located at 200 Lavista Lane, off Wyly Street in Cornelia.

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