New England Rail Trail Incorporated's crowdfunding campaign was officially launched on Tuesday afternoon with the community organisation aiming to raise $75,000 for the New England Rail Trail Business Plan.
The trail is planned to be a 103 km, purpose built and maintained trail along the disused old Great Northern Rail corridor from Armidale to Glen Innes. The campaign started at 6:09am on August 6 and ends at 6:09am on September 5. It has already raised $11,650, $10,000 of which was donated offline.
Armidale Regional Council and Glen Innes-Severn Shire Council both resolved to support the initiative and representatives from both were present on Tuesday.
President of the New England Rail Trail Committee David Mills said he held high hopes for the campaign.
"When you know the true benefit for our towns, and certainly our CBDs are all struggling and looking for opportunity to create interest and bring people in," he said.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the business plan should not take long to develop.
"Once we get that it has got to go to Adam Marshall, because what has to be done is try to get the funding for this," he said.
"And also the closure of this corridor for use of rail. Not closure of the corridore totally, just transition to another use."
Glen Innes Shire Council Mayor Carol Spark said the concept was very exciting.
"I think it will be of great benefit to this whole region," she said.
"I am looking forward to the beginning of it and looking forward to looking at the business plan and would just encourage everybody to put their money into the project."
Chair of Armidale council's Growth Committee Peter Bailey described the trail as a game changer.
"It will change our accommodation providers, it will enhance our cafes, it will bring fresh dollars to our community and at a time when we've got severe drought, it will bring new opportunity and a new industry," he said.
"And an important point is that Guyra will get a significant benefit out of it as the part that started it, and it will have a benefit for all three communities."