Launch 2035’s ambitious vision of a 70-mile trail system connecting Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties, took shape this week with the appointment of former University of Alabama-Huntsville history professor Dr. John Kvach as the Singing River Trail’s first Executive Director.
In an outdoor luncheon at the Huntsville International Airport, John Allen, Operations Director of Launch 2035; Madison Mayor Paul Finley; Land Use Chairs Nancy Robertson and Joe Campbell; Regional Co-chair Rick Tucker; and Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling introduced Kvach as the choice for implementing the trail’s bold Master Plan.
According to Joe Campbell, Kvach could not have written a better resume for the job.
Kvach has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee. He interned with the C&O Canal Trail between Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Md., and worked for the Washington, D.C., Park Service for seven years. He is Smithsonian Scholar for the state of Alabama and has traveled to 64 of 67 counties speaking on Alabama history. He was also associate professor of history at UAH for 10 years and grant director for two years.
“This is a passion for me,” Kvach said. “My goal in life is to make history come alive. I feel as if everything I have done in my life led me to this moment.
“The Singing River Trail is going to be a world-class experience. It’s important that it is not a trail. It is important it is not just a ribbon of concrete, pavement, and gravel. What it has to be and will be, I promise, is an economic incubator.”
As executive director, Kvach will identify stakeholders and guide the construction and overall direction of the three-county project in collaboration with local and regional leaders and Launch 2035.
According to Allen, the Singing River Trail is the land-use glue that will hold the three counties together not just physically, but digitally.
“The physical and digital development of the Singing River Trail will serve as an economic incubator, educational resource, health, and wellness outlet, historical and cultural landmark, and as a Native American Heritage corridor,” said Allen.
Launch 2035 is a regional partnership that rethinks and imagines our region’s economy over the next 20 years. United by the belief that our region’s prosperity depends on the three surrounding counties working and planning together, the Launch 2035 stakeholders are committed to fostering regional economic growth and quality of life for all residents.