‘Rail to Trail’ Will Need Maintenance

Barnesville residents, as well as anyone else in our region who enjoys a pleasant walk or bicycle ride, have reason to celebrate this week. A new “rail to trail” project in the Belmont County community appears to be close to becoming a reality.

Village officials have been told of $950,000 in state funding and $1.1 million coming through the Belomar Regional Council for the project. The village’s share will be $95,000.

Like some other trails in our area, the one in Barnesville should be especially interesting because it follows an old B&O Railroad line — and goes through an abandoned tunnel. Some of the funding will be used to ensure the tunnel is safe for use by walkers and cyclists.

Good for all involved in the initiative, which began about 13 years ago. It will improve the quality of life for Barnesville-area residents, and should attract some out-of-town visitors.

But trails such as that planned in Barnesville require maintenance and occasional repairs. Part of the initial funding should be spent to get an idea of how much will have to be set aside for that purpose.

Once the trail is completed, village officials cannot rely on state and federal funds for maintenance. The sooner more is known about how much money that may require, and how frequently preventive maintenance will be needed, the better.

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