Landowners not willing to sell for Mill Creek bike trail expansion

Local News

GREEN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – For close to 40 years, there’s been talk of a hike and bike trail extending from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. It would cut right through the Mahoning Valley but portions of it are still waiting to be built. In Green Township, some landowners would rather see the trail left as it is.

For those supporting an extension of the hike and bike trail through Mahoning County, it might seem like an irresistible force.

“Obviously, our hope is that the sooner the appropriation process comes to an end, the sooner we can begin construction,” said Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young.

But those living in part of Green Township are hoping they will be the immovable object.

“We have no intention in selling any of the property. None of the landowners do. So no, we’re not willing sellers,” Diane Less said.

Representatives of Mill Creek Park want to add another 6.5 miles to their portion of the Great Ohio Lake to River Trail. This would be the third phase of the project and would extend from S. Western Reserve Road to the Columbiana County line.

The park system is now in the process of getting land it doesn’t own yet.

“There are 14 property owners, 20 parcels,” Young said.

Less claims the trail would slice away six acres of the 160 her family has had for nearly a hundred years. It would also cut through the farm once owned by Valley Congressman Jim Traficant.

Young insists property owners will be fairly compensated.

“You have to understand…people that live in Green Township, we’ve lived here for generations. It’s not about money. The land is worth way more than money,” Less said.

“I don’t know that I could provide an answer to them, specifically, that’s going to quell or change their opinion,” Young said.

Still, he claims the existing trail has been enjoyed by thousands and the extension would add to that.

Less and her neighbors took their complaints to Green Township trustees on Tuesday evening, saying they would fight it in court if they have to.

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