Columbia talks walking trail, senior center - Republic-Times | News

Columbia talks walking trail, senior center

By on September 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm

What was scheduled to be a 10-minute discussion — prior to Monday’s Columbia City Council Committee of the Whole meeting — on a proposed walking trail turned into more than an hour of discussion about how much residents of the city have the right ­to access or restrict others’ access in the name of exclusivity.

At the heart of the debate is a stretch of common ground the Gedern Village Homeowners Association is responsible for maintaining along the GM&O Heritage Trail. There is currently a walking path on the trail that is maintained by Gedern.

Representatives of about 14 families attended the public hearing to voice opposition to the city purchasing the trail and connecting it to two other city trails, eventually expanding the city’s burgeoning trail system so pedestrians and cyclists can make a loop around the city.

With 46 residences in Gedern, alderman Mary Ellen Niemietz said its impossible to surmise that all are opposed to the trail.

“The (Gedern) HOA Trustees contacted (the city) last August 2016 because of the majority interest in having the city assume ownership and maintenance of the trail section,” Niemietz said.

The Gedern residents came out in force, with two issues being repeatedly brought up — loss of property value for the homes, especially those that sit along the trail, and the fact the trail would draw non-residents into the heart of the exclusive community.

Gedern resident Wayne Wherle said that while he supports walking trails in theory, he and his neighbors are overwhelmingly concerned with the security risk such trails could pose as well as with property values, especially for those homes right along the trail.

“The trail goes right into the middle of our subdivision in a way that’s inviting people to come into our subdivision,” Wherle said…>>>

Read the rest of this story in the September 27 issue of the Republic-Times.

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Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email: andrea@republictimes.net