Mayor says Swamp Rabbit route in front yards ‘not an option’ as far as he’s concerned
JULY 27, 2011 1:48 p.m. (2)
What they don’t support is the bike and walking trail running in front of their houses.
They said they will fight any proposal to run the Swamp Rabbit down their street to link it to the county recreation department’s trail at Lake Conestee.
“One of our main concerns is that it will change the very fabric of the neighborhood,” said Parkins Mill resident Tim Williams. “We like our neighborhood the way it is and we don’t want our neighborhood to change.”
Mayor Knox White said the trail won’t go along Parkins Mill Road. “It’s not an option to build a trail in front of people’s yards as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
The city has earmarked $225,000 in this year’s capital improvement budget to determine possible routes to link the sections of the Swamp Rabbit trail, but White said the group is working with the assumption the route will go somewhere along Pleasantburg Drive.
Parkins Mill resident George Miller said the issue has already been divisive in the neighborhood.
Some who live on the neighborhood’s outer reaches in Gower Estates or on other sections of Parkins Mill that wouldn’t be directly affected are supporting putting the trail on Parkins Mill because it has less vehicular traffic than Pleasantburg.
“It’s not in their front yard,” Miller said.
Parkins Mill residents said they’re concerned about having 800 to 1,200 people walking and biking through their neighborhood each day.
They said they fear an increase in crime would come with the increase of transients through their neighborhood.
They also fear increased liability and decreased property values.
“What happens if a child steps off the trail onto my yard and breaks their leg?” Williams said.
Parkins Mill residents are also concerned about how increased traffic from the trail would affect students at Sara Collins Elementary School who walk and bike to school.
Residents said their fears increased after a city employee chalked one of the residents’ yards to show where the sidewalk would be widened to make room for the trail.
“We’ve been told the city would rather ask for forgiveness instead of for permission,” Miller said.
Residents said two routes that would bring the trail down Pleasantburg Drive and keep it out of a residential neighborhood would be better alternatives to connect the trail.
“Nowhere else does the Swamp Rabbit Trail go through a residential neighborhood,” said Elliott Botzis. “Putting the trail through a residential neighborhood is a bad idea.”
The city has not budgeted any money for actual construction.
City officials said the public would be involved in the final determination of the route.
Parkins Mill residents have started a petition drive and will begin a letter writing campaign to White and members of the Greenville City Council.
“We just want some transparency,” Elliott Botzis said. “Putting the Swamp Rabbit Trail through a residential neighborhood is just a bad idea.”
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