To the Editor:
As the chairperson for the 20|20 group, overseeing the Manchester Biking Center and Destination Task Force Committee, I would like you to know about an exciting initiative, which has been in the works for over a decade, and will finally be coming
to a vote at the upcoming town meeting on Feb. 27, 2016.
Last month, there was an advisory discussion in support of a proposed recreational path, that would authorize the Select Board to move forward into negotiations with the owners of the Od Railroad Bed, LLC and other parties, with the aim of developing a continuous walking and biking route from MEMS to Wendy's Way.
This property was purchased by four Manchester residents, who established Old Railroad Bed, LLC with the sole purpose to preserve this land for the community.
Over 40 people attended the meeting, representing a few residents who oppose this initiative, as well as those who support the trail, and the benefits to the community.
The owners of the Old Railroad Bed, LLC own the deed to this land, which has been a railroad bed since 1903. In 2014 the Vermont Supreme court ruled that Old Railroad Bed, LLC had rightfully acquired a fee simple title, proving that they have full right to the railroad bed, and adjacent homeowners were required apply for easements.
We hope that the town's people and the Select Board will see the value of this recreational trail, for bicyclists, walkers and XC skiers and embrace this multi-use trail as an exceptional benefit and asset for the town.
One of the goals of the Biking Center and Destination Task Force is to create a major bike path linking the downtown and village with key destination points in Manchester and other regional town centers. We continue to find ways to develop safer routes for cyclists of all ages, and this proposed rail trail is a positive step forward.
Please visit bikemanchestervt.com, and join us to make Manchester a safe and bike friendly community.
Ellen Ecker Ogden
Chairperson, Biking Center and Destination Task Force