To The Daily Sun,
As a founding member and now president of the WOW Trail, I have witnessed the progress of bringing a decades-old vision to reality over the last 15 years. So many people, organizations and businesses have come together to make this happen.
With the WOW Trail’s Phase 2 and Belmont’s first phase completed, we now have 4 1/2 miles of trail to enjoy, and we’re seeing more trail users than ever, many being visitors from out-of-area. We’ve witnessed firsthand the transformation of an underutilized piece of land to a vibrant recreational amenity for all to enjoy.
As we now work on bringing the trail to Weirs Beach and onto Meredith, we have seen the first attempts to stop this progress. For many abutters and neighbors along the state ROW, the thought of having a trail such as this is very concerning. Certainly, there are different perspectives on what the impact will be, but we are confident from our own experiences and similar experiences around the nation that this trail will add value to our community and the neighborhoods along the way.
Numerous studies reveal that these trails contribute to improving property values, reducing incidences of vandalism, while providing healthy recreation and transportation options to the neighborhoods they serve. In addition, they contribute to the success of local businesses and help attract and retain the younger generation. You’ll find numerous supporting studies at the National Association of Realtors, American Trails, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and many other websites.
As we continue to work toward completing this project, we ask for proponents and opponents alike to buck the national trend of disrespect and ridicule with respect and regard for differing opinions.
If the court of public opinion were to decide the future of this project, the trail would certainly prevail. But the future of this project will lie somewhere other than public opinion. Let’s let the process work itself out, and in the meantime, remember that disrespect is not helpful to either viewpoint. Making your thoughts known to public officials is probably the best way to affect change.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy the 4 1/2 miles we have built. And we’ll continue to educate and explain why the WOW Trail is not something to be fearful of, but rather, an amenity to be embraced. We truly believe that most everyone, including abutters, will become big fans of this trail.
Sign up for our email newsletter at www.wowtrail.org or “like” us at www.facebook.com/wowtrail to stay informed.
Allan Beetle, President
- Written by Mike Mortensen
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 560