Volunteers needed for trail committee

BLYTHEWOOD – Several months ago Council asked the Planning Commission to look into the practicality and planning of a system of multi-use trails in the Blythewood area and Town Administrator Gary Parker brought that suggestion back to the Commission Monday evening.

“We had someone from LandPlan South come to a meeting and review the pros and cons of such a system,” Parker told the Commissioners. “The thought that occurs to me is that you might want to recommend to Council that perhaps a multi-use trail committee should be appointed,” Parker said.

“Even though I believe in this and I think this is a great thing to do, it is a very difficult thing to do and one of the reasons is that it’s very difficult to acquire easements and rights of ways,” Parker said.

Multi-use trail systems were one of the major goals of the 2005 Master Plan to make a pedestrian and biker friendly Town Center. The total estimated cost to construct all 17 trails proposed under the Master Plan would run $23,409,000 and, according to Town Planner Michael Criss, if money were not an object, the project could be completed in the range of 3-5 years.

“I think the first question that needs to be asked is, ‘Is that the best use of $23 million of town funds?’ That’s expensive,” Commissioner Donald Brock said. “You look at some of these numbers, it’s a big number, especially for a town that doesn’t generate any tax revenue.”

Due to the exorbitant cost, Council recommended the Commission focus their short terms goals on trails T-11: from Boney Road to the Park Area, T-12: Creech Road Extension, T-13: Langford/Fulmer, T-14: Round Top Trail and T-15: Beasley Creak Greenway.  T-11 gained the most favor from the Commission.

“If it were me, it would go from here to the baseball park, I think that was one of the trails listed there. A lot of children come to the park to use the playground,” Commission Chair Bryan Franklin said. “They use the library and that would be nice for them to commute on a bicycle.”

The Commission did not vote on the matter, but will be seeking volunteers for the committee. Anyone wishing to volunteer on the Town’s trail committee should contact Town Hall at 754-0501.