SYRACUSE — A disgruntled man attended the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee meeting Monday, July 20, voicing his displeasure with a new section of the trail in front of his property.
Mike Acker, who lives on Harkless Drive, said while the trail is complete from Palm Drive to S.R. 13 section, he is not pleased.
“My property value went down over $20,000,” he told the board. “I don’t know how 13 people didn’t realize a 50-foot pole was in the middle of the sidewalk.” A NIPSCO pole sits on the new portion of the trail in front of his property.
Committee members said they were aware of the pole and tried to work with Acker. They gave him 11 different options, including an easement. However, the trail committee does not pay for an easement, said Megan McClellan, executive director. Another committee member said it’s expensive to move poles.
Acker said it is hazardous having the pole there. He also said he has not received positive comments about that portion of the trail or the pole.
Committee member Erick Leffler stressed to Acker, “We are not trying to steal your property from you.”
McClellan said the Tour des Lakes July 11 was very successful. There were a record 218 paying riders, plus about 30 people rode the Tour des Parks.
“The weather was fantastic,” she said. “We got a lot of positive comments and return riders. Some people came from Ohio and further to ride.” Committee members will be meeting with all the Tour des Lakes organizers next month to do an analysis of what worked. The bike tour is a fundraiser for the trails.
Flooding concerns were addressed at the meeting. With the record rainfall there has been flooding on portions of the trail system. A portion on Northshore Drive, for instance, is causing flooding onto some homeowners’ property.
Several options were discussed. Since Northshore Drive is expected to be paved shortly, the board decided to wait to see if paving eliminates the problem.
The next section of the trail is the Conklin Bay boardwalk and trail. The preliminary layout plan was presented, and includes overlooks. Several committee members will meet with the designer, Earth Source Inc., Friday, July 24 to discuss the plans. The committee is working with one property owner, the Butt family, at the intersection of North Grandview and S.R. 13. The trail will run parallel to S.R. 13.
Trailheads were discussed. A bike rack, picnic table and kiosk are planned for the intersection of Eastshore and Cornelius. The Boy Scouts are building the kiosk.
McClellan said National Parks Service Rivers and Trail Conservation Assistance program offers help finding grants and reviewing them. It will help the committee with the strategic plan in the winter.
The treasurer’s report was presented. Expenses,year-to-date totaled $74,321.44. The ending balance is $229,198.83, which includes numerous donations.
In other news, the committee announced:
• The open house for the new office in downtown Syracuse is July 29.
• The Gatlins concert is Aug. 29 at North Webster Community Center.
• Volunteer of the Month is LuAnn Leatherman.
The next meeting date is 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Syracuse Community Center.