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Mills Park residents oppose trails

July 28, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Nearly 20 residents living in the Mills Park area attended a Hagerstown City Council meeting Tuesday to oppose a proposal that would allow hiking trails to be built in their neighborhood.

Belview Avenue resident Webster Harbaugh said his street is fairly quiet, with the exception of events at Mike Callas Stadium.

He said he was concerned that bringing more foot traffic to the area would decrease his property value.

"Nobody wants it," Harbaugh said.

Other residents said the trails would drive away wildlife and cause basements to flood by removing existing trees that absorb water.

Una L. McCarty, who lives at 339 Belview Ave., said she was concerned that the foundation of her home would be damaged if workers blasted through limestone to build the trails.

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"Please, please don't take our privacy, protection and wildlife away from us," the 84-year-old McCarty said. "I'm getting pretty old to stand in front of a bulldozer."

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the measure that the council voted 4-0 to approve on Tuesday would allow city staff to seek grants from the state and federal governments to fund the project.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said earlier this month that the project would cost $200,000 to $300,000.

Bruchey assured residents in the audience that the preliminary stage of the project only would include a trail from Northern Avenue to the park. That trail would not extend into the surrounding neighborhoods, he said.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner told the residents that additional phases of the project would not proceed without the city collecting more input from the public.

The council thanked the residents for sharing their views during the meeting.

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