Commissioners partner with Belpre trail committee

On Thursday, the commissioners agreed to partner with the Belpre Multi-Use Trail Committee to investigate the purchase of abandoned CSX rail line just west of Belpre. The rail line would be used as an extension to the committee’s already existing trail system.

“All the committee is looking for is to partner with the commissioners,” said Roger Wright, county engineer.

Wright said that the agreement would allow the committee to explore federal funding that would pay for 95 percent of the cost of the 24-acre tract, leaving the county responsible for the final 5 percent.

Kenyon Cox, a member of the committee, said on Tuesday at a public meeting at Marietta College that the cost of purchasing the land is an estimated $238,000. He also said the lines start just west of Belpre along the Ohio River and continues west along the bank until it crosses the Little Hocking River. It then follows U.S. 50 west until it ends just under a mile away from the Athens County border. Cox said his committee hopes this is the next step in completing their main goal of connecting Belpre’s trail system to Athens County’s trail system.

Commissioner President David White voiced concern over the potential that the county wouldn’t have complete control of the property if it is eventually purchased.

“I’m worried about provisions where CSX maintains control over some aspects of the property,” he said.

White specifically talked about CSX potentially retaining control of the easement around the property. Wright said when funding is found and the potential contract is presented to the commissioners, the information requested by White will be available.

After verifying that their support of investigating funding for the purchase of the land didn’t obligate the county to purchase it, the commissioners unanimously approved the proposal.

In other business discussed, Tim Marty, Washington County Building and Grounds superintendent, told the commissioners he was left with no choice when hiring a company to seal pavement at multiple locations in the county. Marty said he tried to tempt five companies to bid on the project, but only N and W Sealing of Belpre gave an estimate, and was even recommended by the other potential bidders for the contract.

“One just actually called me on the way here and recommended them,” he said.

Wright said the problem is the lack of options that Marty has to choose from.

“You just don’t have that many local companies that do that kind of work,” he said.

Marty said the $13,800 project will seal and repair pavement at the Washington County Courthouse parking lot, the Children Services parking lot on Davis Avenue and the Washington County Health Department’s lot on Muskingum Drive.

“They need to happen,” Marty said. “You’re protecting you investment.”

The commissioners unanimously agreed to accepting N and W Sealing’s estimate.

Dates to remember

•8:30 a.m. Tuesday; Monthly County Home meeting.

•10 a.m. May 21; Finance Committee meeting.

•May 27, courthouse closed for Memorial Day.

Source: Rick Peoples, commissioner clerk.


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