Ownership Questions Block Trail Development

(posted Apr 23)

Despite the success and enthusiasm of the April 19 Diamond in the Rough 5k, the Speedway Trails Association still remains stymied on gaining ownership of the abandoned B & O corridor.

STA President Beverly Alexander said some are willing to donate their land, others provide easements, and other people don't want the STA there at all. The STA needs to determine ownership so it can proceed with trail development.

"You don't want us there at all. We are 15 feet from her bedroom window," Alexander said, referring to Margaret Kelly, a Norfolk Court resident who attended the April 23 meeting.

Kelly was also upset that her bush was chopped up by mistake during the clearing. The town council gave the STA members permission to clear its side of the abandoned line along Leonard Park. The overgrown bushes and weeds were becoming a safety issue for kids playing in the park.

The STA is still trying to get Marion County Legal to accept affidavit of ownership from the adjacent property owners. A 1994 class action lawsuit resolved ownership claims to the abandoned CSX line. The court case ruled parcel by parcel whether CSX owned the property or only had use of the parcel by easement. From the court case, it was determined the town owns north half of the trail running through Leonard Park.

Although Kelly does not want to see the trail developed, she figures she has already lost the battle to the STA. "I don't want to be run over, that's all," Kelly said.

Kelly contends the trail will be shoved down her throat. She was upset that five mulberry bushes were cut down,taking away bird habitat.

Diana Virgil of the B & O Trail Association disagreed that trail development would push the wildlife away. Alexander said the STA wants to retain the tree canopy and eliminate the undergrowth of weeds.

STA member Marie Hall was concerned about Kelly's feelings and did not want her to think the trails were being shoved down her throat. "My desire, but I don't live on the trail, I don't want anybody not to like what we are doing," Hall said.

Kelly agreed to accept Alexander's invitation to work with her in determining the adjacent ownership to the trail. Kelly can then share information with the adjacent landowners.