GIRARD – Just weeks after approving a resolution in support of a plan to turn an abandoned railway into a trail, the Crawford County Commission voted Tuesday to rescind that decision.
“I think we got ahead of ourselves,” said Commissioner Tom Moody, “and until some of these questions are answered, then we need to revisit (the Watco Trail plan.)”
At its Jan. 22 meeting, the commission had approved an initial resolution which would allow the nonprofit group Live Well Crawford County to apply for grants for a project to turn a section of railway stretching from Pittsburg to Cherokee, owned by Watco Companies but which has long sat unused, into a walking and bicycling path. On Feb. 19, Commissioners Bruce Blair and Tom Moody voted to reverse that decision. Commissioner Jeremy Johnson did not attend the meeting.
At the same meeting in January when it approved the Watco Trail resolution, the commission also approved an initial resolution in favor of a separate “ABC Trails” plan. ABC stands for Allen, Bourbon and Crawford counties. Nonprofit groups including Live Well, along with Thrive Allen County and the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, hope to establish an interconnected trail system through the three counties. The commission did not rescind its ABC Trails resolution Feb. 19.
“We are not against these trails in Pittsburg, or that go throughout the county roads, that kind of thing,” said area resident Larry Jacobs. Jacobs said he is concerned, however, that the ABC Trails proposal will also include the Watco Trail, which he does not see as having been planned out in enough detail at this point. The county commissioners said that if a revised proposal for the Watco Trail plan is to be presented at a future meeting, there will be two weeks advance public notice that will allow concerned owners of land adjacent to the proposed trail to attend that meeting.
“It’s made the landowners extremely happy that they rescinded that,” Jacobs said after Tuesday’s vote on the resolution. Jacobs said he is also happy that Live Well has said it will hold a public forum to answer questions about its Watco Trail plan and explain it in further detail. No date has been set yet for that public forum.