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Mills River set to add new walking trail

MILLS RIVER —Mills River park runners and walkers will have more pavement to pound by this summer.

The Mills River Town Council authorized engineers to invite six qualified bidders to construct the 4,170-foot walking trail that loops from Town Hall to the northern edge of the 50-acre property bordering the Mills River. The trail will be 10 feet wide.
The projected cost of the loop is $140,000 to $150,000. The town hopes to have work under way by April and completed by June. Under terms of its state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant, the town is eligible to receive reimbursement of $43,000 for the work. Bids are due Feb. 28.
In another park related expenditure, engineer Tom Jones, of William G. Lapsley & Associates, said that the town's one-third share of a left turn lane project would come to about $53,000. That amount is less than original projections because the DOT's cost estimate dropped from $250,000 to $160,000. The town almost must pay for the design and engineering. It has budgeted $15,000 for that.
The Town Board also again booted a recommendation of the Planning Board on solar panel regulation. The board had taken up the recommendation before and sent it back to the advisory board for more work.
Councilman Wayne Carland said the planning board's proposal was too restrictive on landowners who may want to lease open land for solar panels.
"We in Mills River have never been more restrictive than Henderson County and we are with this," he said. "I don't agree with the Planning Board on this. It's infringing on the private property rights ...You're really restricting the people bringing in $20 per acre for hayfields" who could make many times more leasing land for solar.