To the Editor:
At the Town Meeting, residents will be asked to vote on a nonbinding agreement asking the town to investigate purchasing a section of a former rail bed for conversion into a recreation path.
The path, which follows part of a former railroad that ceased operations a century ago, goes from North Road, a busy roadway, to the northern property line of the Daily gravel pit. It crosses seven properties, including a corn field, splitting them into separate parcels. It presents safety and security concerns for adjoining properties, especially with the current opiate problems.
Importantly, it is not a bike path. It is much too narrow, short, and uninteresting, and will not help the town attain the goals of Manchester 2020. It will require an easement from Daily Precast (not certain), to connect to the path from MEMS to Reilly Rink, require the removal of old growth trees, and disturb animal habitat.
This project, studied in detail by the Berger Group 15 years ago, shows construction costs would be $1.4 million in today's dollars. With strong objections from 100% of adjoining land owners, grants are unlikely. Residents would foot a huge bill, including acquisition, construction, maintenance plus removal of the property from the tax rolls.
The Berger report states "The lack of community support for this trail is the major detriment and likely in the best interests of the town not to proceed with a project that does not have strong support from the whole community." We do not need a "study of a study" and waste the time of our town officials.