Back to my favorite local issue of late—-the proposed Washington County Rail-Trail (New readers see previous posts here).
Last week we learned that the town of Boonsboro which had previously voted to support the $16 million plus project that affects the property rights of landowners for 24 miles, has reversed itself (after the contentious public meeting in Boonsboro) and has withdrawn its support.
Here is the story in the Herald Mail:
Did any of you notice the irony in this piece about business before the Boonsboro Mayor and Council on Monday night, July 2?
Scroll down the article past the Trail discussion and see this (Boonsboro has an on-going problem with water coming off the mountain behind the town):
The water runoff in the area comes from a mountain area behind St. Paul Street, Boonsboro Town Manager Debra Smith has said.
The mountain area is outside the town in Washington County.
Water has run into streets, including Orchard Drive and Lakin and Ford avenues, over the years, Smith said.
The issue came up during a meeting in September between the town council and the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
At that time, county Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham sympathized with residents in the neighborhood, but said she was not sure where money would come from to fix the problem.
So what is so funny? The Commissioners, spearheaded by Commissioner Callaham, have put their Director of Public Works (the county engineer) to work planning a multi-million dollar pie-in-the-sky rail-trail. They have made maps, held meetings, sent out press releases and made powerpoint presentations, but they DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY TO ADDRESS A BORING WATER RUN-OFF PROBLEM that you would think falls within the Public Works Department’s purview!
It is all about building monuments for special interest groups and not about doing the day-in day-out tedious work of serving the average citizen. I hope the Mayor and Council noted the irony of the paper’s report.
Washington County Chamber of Commerce supports the boondoggle!
So leaders of the town of Boonsboro observed the angry public meeting and changed their minds, but on June 27th (six days after the public meeting), the Washington County Chamber of Commerce ignored the landowners and said, go for it! This is from the Chamber’s press release:
(June 27, 2012) – The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce issued a statement today in support for further development of a Civil War Rail Trail. In a letter to the Washington County Commissioners, and on behalf of the Chamber’s leadership, Chamber President Brien Poffenberger* wrote:
“The Chamber of Commerce supports the further development of plans to build a Civil War Rail Trail along the former B&O Railroad line in Washington County.
The proposed trail, which will ultimately run from Hagerstown’s City Park to the C&O Canal in southern Washington County, has the potential to boost tourism, increase jobs, create new companies, and generate more revenue for existing businesses.
If Washington County parks and trails generated much income for the county (beyond the sandwich and soda pop business!), we would be one of the richest counties in the State of Maryland. They are simply blowing smoke! The Washington County Ruling Class (WCRC) wants this project and therefore it shall be!
Have a look at who makes up the Chamber of Commerce in Washington County, here. Should the Hagerstown Herald Mail be sitting on this board? How could they possibly not have an occasional conflict of interest?
* For new readers, we have written extensively about Brien Poffenberger the progressive politician who ran against Republican Neil Parrott for the House of Delegates in 2010. Poffenberger lost of course. Think about it! Without Parrott we would not have possibly as many as three ballot initiatives on the 2012 ballot in November allowing the citizens of the state to challenge the establishment for the first time in 20 years by deciding some very critical issues!