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Posted: May 8, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Porterdale reviews county rail proposal

At Monday night's Porterdale City Council meeting, councilman Lowell Chambers proposed the council sign a resolution in support of the Newton County Board of Commissioners' recent proposal to purchase a continuous strip of Norfolk Southern rail line for the purpose of creating a multi-use trail extending through the county.

"I believe we're in the second wave of the greening of America," Chambers said of the country's renewed efforts in alternative transportation and conservation.
Mayor Bobby Hamby said having an uninterrupted right of way in the county was essential to his dream of one-day creating a trolley system connecting all municipalities in the county.

Downtown Manager Sandy Fowler weighed in saying that as she was also a member of the tourism board of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce, she felt a trail traversing Porterdale would help draw visitors into their downtown district and generate extra revenue for merchants.

Councilmembers Robert Foxworth and Linda Finger expressed concern over whether a trail would attract vagrants and lead to increased crime along its corridor.

"I think we need to look into this a little bit further and not vote on a resolution tonight," Foxworth said. He said he would invite dissenting voices of property owners along the rail line who have shared their worries with him to attend the council's May 28 work session so the council could hear what they had to say before endorsing the BOC's actions.

Finger said she would not want the trail running behind her property.

"I would be delighted to have a multi-use trail near my house," Chambers said.

Fowler told the council that as a former resident of Paulding County, she witnessed first hand the increased business and community pleasure that stemmed from the Silver Comet Trail.

"The people that will use these trails will not be a danger to you," Fowler assured the council.


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