The Creeper Trail's unbelievable success was noted in an article in the Dickenson Star the other day that had to do with similar riches being guaranteed Dickenson County now that authorites there have begun work on their Cranesnest Trail.
Now today, we learn that the city of Bristol, not to miss out on the gravy train, got in on the action too, citing that same success story - the Virginia Creeper Trail.
Wiser heads may be prevailing though. Someone there put pencil to paper, did some preliminary calculation, and asked a valid question: At what expense is this prosperity to come?
In today's news (from the newspaper that has the distinction of constructing the longest headlines on the planet):
Obstacles may cause Bristol Virginia to abandon its plans for the Mendota Trail project after spending more than $600,000 on it
By David McGee, Bristol Herald-Courier Staff Writer
Bristol, Va. – Despite a recent favorable court ruling, city leaders may opt to abandon the controversial Mendota Trail project.
The proposed hiking and biking trail from the city limits to the Scott County, Va., line has already cost the city more than $600,000, City Manager Bill Dennison said. The council is expected discuss the stalled project at its next meeting.
"An item is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting," Dennison said. "It’s a terribly convoluted, complicated, very expensive proposition. Continuing a project, with no end to the expenses in sight, doesn’t seem very prudent to me."
City leaders had originally envisioned replicating the popular Creeper Trail in Damascus when they bought 12 miles of a former Southern Railway line in western Washington County in 2000. The project was expected to provide recreation, be a tourist destination and enhance economic development.
In the nearly seven years since, the city has invested about $635,000 to acquire the land and in legal and engineering fees, amid a six-year legal battle with property owners along the proposed route.
"A half-million dollars will not touch what needs to be done to that trail and that doesn’t include annual maintenance," Dennison said. (link)
To prove that the trail will probably go forward anyway, despite Mr. Dennison's very legitimate concerns and the realities on the ground all around Southwest Virginia, and despite the up front and ongoing costs cited by the current city manager, a former Bristol mayor had this to say:
"It seems a shame to not do it," [Doug] Weberling said. "Everyone around us is doing trails and reaping the economic benefits, and Bristol is going to be left out."
Yes, they are. But are they?