We should welcome rails-to-trails growth


State Rep. Al Cutrona should be scolded for his recent addition to the Ohio State Budget Funding Bill that limits eminent domain use for recreational projects.

Cutrona must compare the Lake-to-River Bike trail that he is impeding to similar bike trails. The Ohio-Erie Canal Bike Trail from Cleveland to the Ohio River has had major financial impact on all the little and large towns along its route. Try going to lunch in Peninsula on a spring day. The town is jammed with bicycles; the restaurants, shops and bike stores are packed. The trail was the featured trip in the “Off Duty” section of the July 3-4 Wall Street Journal.

I am certain Leetonia and Canfield would be envious if such a national newspaper featured their downtowns. Cutrona should be pondering the financial benefits to our region of bike trails; they are the kind of project which he was elected to pursue.

I was certain that former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant was self-centered and under-educated enough to not know the history of that railroad right-of-way. I am surprised that his once-neighbor Diane Less is that lacking in community awareness. Of course, the very cute and desirable Village of Leetonia would not exist without coal from Vienna Township. The coal that moved for decades along the right-of-way (that should be a bike trail) came on slow-moving trains that belched soot. Leetonia stank of sulfur from the coke ovens (now an arboretum) and its two stinky but prosperous iron manufacturing sites.

We should be celebrating the history and economic benefits of the railroad right-of-way with its clean air and beautiful vistas of Ohio countryside.




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