They're putting up signs around the county that say: "Priorities First, No Rails to Trails," and are asking others to call their county commissioner and voice their concerns.
What they're referring to is a public-private partnership that includes the Newton Trails-Path Foundation and the cities of Oxford, Porterdale, Newborn and Mansfield to buy 14.9 miles of track from Norfolk Southern rail line.
They're voicing concerns over possible loss of privacy, liability issues, safety and whether governments should instead be focusing in an economic downtown on basic services.
We like the potential public benefits offered by the purchase but we hear the concerns of the opponents.One of the concerned citizens, Jack Morgan, said he and others are researching the issue, as they should. We'll all benefit from their efforts.
We hope they check out what North Augusta, S.C., has done with a similar abandoned railroad right-of-way. They turned the path into a positive for the community, a multi-use, paved path called the North Augusta Greeneway, that stretches more than seven miles and crosses through several subdivisions. It's used by the residents whose property backs up to the trail and is a regional draw for recreational bikers and families on a casual stroll.
There are expenses involved, with maintenance and city police patrols, but that comes with any park.
We're glad that the issue is getting a thorough, public vetting. It's great for everyone when points of contention are approached as this one is, with civility and based in folks doing their homework.