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County Commission: Do you support the Ecusta Trail?

'That’s the kicker,' on the Ecusta Trail, Hogan Corn said. 'How are (property owners)  going to feel about people traveling through, about their safety, their children, their animals, their pets?' 'That’s the kicker,' on the Ecusta Trail, Hogan Corn said. 'How are (property owners) going to feel about people traveling through, about their safety, their children, their animals, their pets?'

Candidates for the Henderson County Board of Commissioners answered questions last week on raises for classroom teachers, the Ecusta Trail, Flat Rock Playhouse, the Wingate-BRCC-Pardee health education building and other topics.

 

Candidates (all Republicans) for the three Board of Commissioners seats are:

  • District 1: Hogan Corn, J. Michael Edney and Andrew Riddle.
  • District 3: William G. Lapsley and Larry R. Young.
  • District 4: Tim Griffin and Tommy Thompson.

Do you support the Ecusta Trail?

 

Thompson: "I would support it if the railroad was to give it up. If the railway would come through and give it up then I would be supportive of rails to trails."

Griffin: "I actually would like to see a whole comprehensive study on what that whole trail would cost us in maintenance and construction. ... There seems to me to be quite a few questions that we need to have answers on. I just think there's a lot of unknowns. I also think you have to look at not just what's it gonna cost to build, what's it gonna cost to maintain. What's the sheriff going to have to spend on personnel to patrol it and keep it safe."

Lapsley: "I would say yes but I think one of the key points here is the property owners along the trail. They bought the property with a railroad bordering them. I think if you change the concept we at least owe it to them to get their opinion before we commit to it."

Young: "When this came up four or five years ago I talked to a lawyer (in Brevard). He told me if the railway gives up that right of way ... then that property reverts back to the property owners. You cannot give anybody permission to cross somebody else's property. Now how much is it going to cost to build that rail to trail? Four or five years ago, they suggested about $20 million. It's probably $25 million or more. I would be in favor of a bond issue to let the people vote and see if they want their property taxes raised about 10 cents on the $100" valuation.

Corn: "I would certainly be in favor of it. I think it would be a great venture to get on a bike and ride that path and enjoy the sights and see the neighborhoods that you would run through. That's the kicker — the neighborhoods that you're going to be going through, the backyards, the homes — how are they going to feel about people traveling through, about their safety, their children, their animals, their pets. The list goes on and on. And then you come to, hey, how much is this going to cost to enjoy this. And what would be the impact on the economy. But if it all worked out and everyone who was going to be affected by this was OK, I'm OK. I think it would be great."

Riddle: "I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity. ... How we pay for it is the question. I agree with Larry Young. Put this on a general obligation bond. If folks want to pay a one-time tax in an election, let's put this together. ... If I'm in this office my main focus is debt reduction, not more parks."

Edney: "There's been a study done. The study said the economic impact would be to the benefit of about $10 million a year. So it's actually a good thing for that. As I understand it the railroad actually owns 85 percent of the fee-simple title so it's not just the old easement like they had in Transylvania County. If we can get Transylvania County on board, if they'll give up the concept of having to have that railroad to reenergize their industrial base over there and realize that this is an industry of itself, then we can go as a community to the federal authorities and to the railroad and try to get something working. It'll be a tremendous benefit to the entire region if we can make this thing happen."