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Old rail beds have value as bike and hike trails



Published: Sun, August 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Old rail beds have value as bike and hike trails

EDITOR:

Warren residents and politicians who oppose the city buying into the development of the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway Trail should visit locations in Ashtabula and Mahoning Counties where once-abandoned railroad right of ways are now cleaned up and blacktopped and actively in use. Bicyclers, walkers, joggers, inline skaters, and equestrians are enjoying miles of the paved trail, running through both urban and rural settings, without fear of being accosted by drug dealers and prostitutes or being harmed by unidentified pollutants.

Conversion of abandoned railroad corridors to clean, safe, and neighborhood-enhancing condition for recreational use is not a concept dreamed up by a few local outdoor enthusiasts. In Ohio, over 400 miles of rails-to-trails have already been created, and throughout the entire United States the mileage stands at well over 10,000, and increasing yearly. People living along completed recreational trails can attest to the fact that undesirable activities that once may have flourished along the derelict right of ways have been eliminated, not fostered.

Completion of the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway Trail is progressing gradually, as one section of right of way after another is acquired and developed. I urge our local government officials to talk to Greenway Trail organizers in Ashtabula and Mahoning counties to hear their success stories, and to learn more about the nationwide movement to create a network of public trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. The people of Warren, especially those living along the B & amp;O right of way, can only benefit from the city's enthusiastic participation in this worthy project.

BILL ABELL

Warren

Youngstowners aren't Belmont Ave.'s problem

EDITOR:

Former Mayor Pat Ungaro's remarks about the deterioration of Belmont Avenue "because people from Youngstown have moved in and brought their inner-city problems with them" really hit me the wrong way.

I was born in Youngstown in the 1950s and always remember Belmont Avenue as being a very homely merchant area. The kind you see all over America: ugly signage, no landscaping, nondescript plazas and buildings and plenty of asphalt parking lots. Look at Mahoning Avenue, Route 224, Route 422 and Market Street. But if the stores were open and the parking lots were full then these were considered signs of a good economy. I think there is truth in that but it still doesn't mean that the area was visually attractive. There is also something to be said for these very same boring-looking places being kept neat and clean. Cleanliness is a sign that the owners care about their businesses, which is important. For one thing, criminals usually like to work where they can't be seen and choose areas where people don't care.

I do think many businesses do not care about their visual impact on the area or they really don't even think about it. I wish they would because investing in some landscaping, and maintaining it, could definitely enhance an area and bring in more customers.

My point is that Belmont was never that pretty to begin with. It has deteriorated. I don't know if it's because Youngstown citizens have moved in. If I, a Youngstown citizen, had moved in, this wouldn't have happened. I imagine if many other Youngstown natives that I know of would have moved in, this wouldn't have happened either. Did Mr. Ungaro imply that all Youngstown citizens are criminals. I'm insulted.

I truly hope that Belmont can turn around, and I think Mr. Ungaro is on the right track. I'm totally excited about his ideas for visual improvement. I hope the people of Liberty as well as of Youngstown join together on this. There is plenty of traffic passing through this way and plenty of opportunity for prosperity, especially if the 7/11 connector gets built. And if it doesn't get built there is still plenty to work with. Best of luck!

MARY KRUPA

Youngstown

America at its best

EDITOR:

Somerset County, Pa., provided another incident to show the world the American way.

The Quecreek coal mine was flooded with nine miners trapped underground

What looked like a disaster was turned into a miracle, with Old Glory flying high and millions of people watching and praying.

We showed the world the American way -- what modern day technology and prayer can do.

STEVE KOPA

Weirton, W.Va.

Double standard inpolice, fire discipline

EDITOR:

I read with great interest the article on page B1 of yesterday's paper about the two policemen fired by the YPD because of an off-duty robbery ( & quot;Two cops lose jobs over code violations & quot;). There is a & quot;story behind the story & quot; which you failed to report -- The stark contrast between the Youngstown Police Department and the Youngstown Fire Department regarding how they deal with the criminals in their midst.

The YPD demonstrated great courage when it fired the two cops for an off-duty robbery, even though those officers were acquitted of the criminal charges brought against them.

In January of 2001, Youngstown Firefighter James Dimuzio brutally attacked me while off-duty. The Fire Department failed to terminate Dimuzio's employment, even after his indictment for felonious assault in March of 2001 and despite his long history of violence. He remained with the department even after perpetrating two more assaults, post-indictment, for which he was brought up on bond revocation. Rather than being disciplined, Dimuzio's behavior was rewarded with an & quot;early retirement bonus & quot; of 10,000 taxpayer dollars and a pension which is, under Ohio law, protected from attachment to pay the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills which I incurred as a result of his violence.

Thus it is quite clear that while the Youngstown Police Department is in the business of punishing the criminals in their midst, the Youngstown Fire Department is in the business of sheltering them.

The citizens of Youngstown deserve an explanation, and deserve their money back. They also deserve a fire department which holds itself to the same high standards as the YPD. If Fire Chief John O'Neill cannot provide all three, then the citizens of Youngstown deserve his resignation.

Atty. EDWARD T. SAADI

Youngstown




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