City Runs Into Roadblocks With Riverwalk Trail Expansion
Danville, VA - Most of the businesses located near the trail have been more than happy to allow an easement for the city to expand the project, but for some, it hasn't been that easy.S & B Motors has been on Riverside Drive since the 1940s.
"It was a family owned business. Everybody has retired and left now except for my wife and myself, " said S&B President Sam Burton.
Burton says he has been allowing folks to walk behind the property for years, where trail patrons have worn a beaten path, but the decision to grant the city full access to the area isn't up to just him.
"The family owns the property. We just so happen to operate it, and you can have...I don't care how many owners you have, but unless all of them sign, you can't make them do it, " he said.
Karen Cross is one of the designers of the trail.
She says she understands why some people have concerns about opening their property to that amount of foot traffic.
"What we've seen is that once areas are changed for the trail use that things are actually neater and safer, but that is a very common concern, " Cross said
She also has shot down the idea of using eminent domain to take the amount of land they will need to meet their goal.
"The landowner relationship is more important to us than the types of issues that might come from trying to force something from eminent domain, " she said.
Burton hopes that his family will make a decision soon, and Cross says she will continue to do all she can to make sure landowners are pleased as they continue to complete the trail.
"Some people are very eager to grant their property easements and some people are more hesitant and it might take a little bit longer but we hope that eventually an agreement can be reached, " Cross said.