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'River Trail East' closer to reality
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The city’s newest walking trail will be named “River Trail East.” A section has been cleared off by volunteers but assistance from the city is needed to move forward.
According to Friends of the Greenway member Wally Bigbee, about 13 volunteers have cleared a 40-inch-wide path from the Sally’s Alley parking area to the bridge on Beersheba Street. Now the group needs three things from the city – a survey, approval of the name, and sign placement.
Property line complications have arisen and a survey is needed to prevent the trail from accidentally being placed on someone’s private property, says Bigbee.
“We are ready to move on to the next section,” said Bigbee. “It will begin at Ramsey Park, go down along Cedar Street and then, between the properties on Cedar Street and the river. For us to do this legally, we need to know where the corners are on the properties.”
One property owner is insisting her property line extends almost all the way to the river and she wants the city to purchase it. That’s a situation Bigbee says he wants to avoid.
“If we can go along the river behind those folks, we won’t have to worry about negotiations with them,” he said. “In order for us to do the trail, we really need to know where their property line ends. We don’t want to trespass onto someone’s private property. We need a surveyor who will come in and identify where that point is and mark it.”
Mayor Jimmy Haley says a survey is necessary due to Urban Renewal that messed up most of the property lines and may have left property owners unaware of where their property line ends.
“We have been looking at this,” Haley said. “Most of the deeds are convoluted because of Urban Renewal so it’s going to be very difficult to establish anything down there. If nothing else, it should tell the city where its property lines are and it might even prompt us to continue to do some surveying down there because there is some question about where those property lines are.”
Haley says the owner of a second property has died, but the heirs have informed him they believe the property extends “nearly to the river” despite the fact the city’s plat maps don’t show that to be true.
The name River Trail East was suggested out of location, says Bigbee.
“Greenways must be paved and meet certain specifications so it cannot be a greenway,” he said. “Someone told us a lot of municipalities are not naming things after people as much as they are about giving a location. It’s on the river, it’s a trail, and it’s east, so River Trail East.”
Bigbee says signs can be placed at the beginning and end of the trail.
“With a name, we can place a sign that identifies Ramsey Park as the trail head and place a sign at the entrance at Sally’s Alley,” he said. “We also need a trail use sign that tells people what they can do and can’t do.”
The requests for a survey, name approval and signs were made to city Parks and Recreation Committee members Ben Newman and Billy Wood, who unanimously approved all three requests. Alderman Rick Barnes was absent.