State representative weighs in on potential St. Joseph northside trail

Some northside residents are upset that the city is pushing forward so aggressively with their plan to put in the trail, the issue has now gotten the attention of state representatives.

Posted: Apr 22, 2019 12:06 AM
Updated: Apr 22, 2019 9:51 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) Some people who live in the city's north side are trying to find answers as to why the City is taking part of their property. 

The City's push to build a hike and bike trail right through the neighborhood has those who live there upset. 

"We haven’t had any written notice about it or anything like that," Matt Laidy, a homeowner whose property is in jeopardy of being Cut by the city said. 

Neighbors say the City is using eminent domain to push forward on plans to install the trail without any input from them. 

It's a decision that has gotten the attention of state representatives.

"This is clearly a violation of citizen's rights." Sheila Solon, state representative 9th District said. 

Solon voiced her concerns about the plan, she felt the City's approach is an egregious overstep.

"I don’t believe that any legislator would believe that the use of eminent domain for hike and bike trails is appropriate or is the right thing to do," Solon said. 

Solon along with neighbors here say there are other options the city could have considered. Both proposed ideas placing the trails parallel to nearby roads such as St. Joseph Ave. or Savannah Rd. 

In addition to running through their back yards, neighbors said the trail would also intersect Blackwell Road, an occasionally busy street with no sidewalks. They also said the City had no plans to light the trail, raising concerns about safety.

"We have grandchildren here they have friends over," Laidy said. "It's not going to be safe for the children."

As for their feelings toward the City, neighbors said they felt pushed to the side, ignored and neglected.

"I don’t think the City wants to listen to us," Kathy Smith, a neighbor said. "It seems like they just have a plan and this is what they want to do."

"I just feel betrayed," Laidy said. "I mean why would they not come an let us know about it first thing?"

These neighbors said they plan to be at the city council meeting Monday night to discuss this issue with council leaders.

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