Letters to the Editor (12-26-18)

It is commendable that the City of Hillsboro is building a recreational trail from the downtown to the new hospital. This community asset will benefit current residents and many generations to come. Another proposal is to build a trail four miles from Hillsboro to Marion Lake by using the historic 1879 AT&SF rail line which has been conserved under the National Trails Act. This trail would provide a safe way for children, young people and seniors to access the lake.

Crushed limestone, installed on top of the rock railroad bed, would pack down into a hard surface suitable for road bicycles and wheelchairs. The cost could be as little as $80,000 provided city and/or county workers and equipment are used. Allen County did this for the Southwind Rail Trail which stretches 6.5 miles from Iola to Humboldt. Federal and foundation grants are available to pay for trail projects.

Everyone wins with the development of recreational trails: the public gains a safe place to walk, jog or bike; towns often receive a small economic boost; and, adjacent landowners obtain ready access to a recreational facility and a slight increase in property values. The first step has been taken and now the second step can follow. Then Hillsboro can assume the mantle of “Gateway to Marion Lake”.

Clark Coan

Lawrence, KS

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