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Thirteen days after they made it, Henderson County commissioners on Monday dropped a demand that Hendersonville pay for a greenway in return for the county's granting of a sewer line easement through Jackson Park.
The commissioners took the action Monday night after Mayor Barbara Volk appealed to the board to allow the project to go forward without additions that she said would cost the city $200,000. She said the city can't move quickly enough to make that change in time for an upcoming deadline to secure a low-interest loan.
The commissioners on April 24 authorized the city of Hendersonville to run a gravity sewer line through Jackson Park under the condition that the city add a walking, running and biking greenway along the path of the new line.
The city needed the county's OK to run the line, which will allow the utility to eliminate an outdated pump station at the edge of Jackson Park.
City utilities director Lee Smith told the commissioners last month a gravel road alongside the line would allow city crews to maintain it. County commissioners insisted that the city add a greenway and build bridges over streams. City engineer Brent Detwiler said that could mean two to three bridges.
The new sewer line would run in a mostly straight line northwest along the woodsline that borders the eastern edge of the park, parallel to Mud Creek and Bat Fork. The new line through Jackson Park is part of a new $4 million 3-mile sewer line running along Mud Creek to the city wastewater treatment plant on Berkeley Road.
The 22-year-old Jackson Park pump station has been troublesome, Detwiler said. A "major sanitary sewer overflow" in March 2011 resulted in a violation from state water regulators, he said in a memo. The likelihood of another spill is "extremely high," he said, adding that the city's overall goal is to replace pump stations with gravity flow sewer lines when possible.
Commissioner Michael Edney, who made the motion last month demanding the greenway work, made the motion on Monday night to reverse that demand.
"It would be quite expensive to do the trails and to do the bridges. I don't want to jeopardize this project," he said. "It's a good project. I believe they've agreed to make a path of about 4-5 feet wide that people could walk on or bike on and use that part of the park that they've never had access to."
The city will maintain the roadway for utility department vehicles but the county would maintain the walking trail.
"If it ever washes away or for routine maintenance, we'd keep up the walking part of the gravel," Edney said. In addition, the city would give to the county a piece of property that could potentially connect Jackson Park and the Hendersonville Christian School property, which the county bought for park and recreation use.
Mayor Volk thanked the commissioners for endorsing the compromise.
"I'm sure we will be in agreement with all of that," Volk said.