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Area residents weigh in on Civil War Railroad Trail

June 22, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

Boonsboro resident Heidi Welsh said she did a study in 1993, talking to area residents who were for or against the Civil War Railroad Trail, but things have changed since then.

“At that time (the representatives) did the wrong thing,” she said. “They showed up in people’s backyards with survey stakes, and people felt pretty attacked.”

She said that 20 years later the issue has been handled differently.

“The commissioners should be commended for doing this public participation,” she said. “Also the demographics have changed.”

Welsh, 46, was among area residents who spoke Friday about whether the proposed Civil War Railroad Trail that would connect Hagerstown to Weverton is a good idea.

She said the trail will benefit people who live in the area.

“There are a lot of people here that like to enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “I personally think that government should be about doing things that people want and making their lives better, and that’s what this is about.”

Bo Harris, 46, of Boonsboro also said he supported the idea.

“I think everybody would enjoy it,” he said. “Everybody can get out and get some exercise.”

The trail would cover 23.4 miles along the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad bed, which now is owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

On Thursday, more than 200 people attended a town meeting about the project at Boonsboro’s fire hall.

Hagerstown resident Faye Stauch, who said she attended the meeting, does not support the project.

“I think it’s fiscally irresponsible,” she said. “Property values will plummet, and there are enough places for that kind of activity.”

Jeff Worth, 59, of Boonsboro said that even though he understands the Washington County Board of Commissioners need to prioritize when it comes to spending, he supports the idea.

“It’s good to have opportunities and places for people to go,” he said. “It’s a good idea to be outside to walk, bike, and jog. Those are good healthy activities.”

Jim Beemer of Hagerstown said he supported the project, as well.

“I think it will be a positive thing,” he said. “It would be more functional for the bikers in Hagerstown.”

Beemer, 57, said that it would also make life easier for bikers who have to go other places to ride.

“Every time I go to the C&O Canal, I see a lot of bikers, but they have to transport their bikes,” he said. “This would also make it safer for bikers.”

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