County planners take no action on WRT setback request

By Joseph Slacian

The Wabash County Plan Commission has yet to consider a setback requirement for the Wabash River Trail.

Opponents to the trail asked the commission in July to consider such a requirement to protect those who do not want the trail cutting through their property.

However, Plan Commission Director Mike Howard noted that he has been busy with other projects and has not yet had a chance to consider the request.

He did ask how a setback can be created on a continuous item, such as the trail?

In a related matter, Lagro Clerk-Treasurer Kristie Bone presented the board a petition signed by 69 individuals in support of the trail, most of who, she said, live in Lagro.

It’s time, she said, for residents in favor of the trail to speak up.

“Change is inevitable,” she said. “A lot of people don’t like change, but change is going to happen.”

Sherman Gray, whose parents William and Lena Gray are critics of the trail, urged the commission not to drag its feet on the matter of the trail and the setback.

The trail is dividing the community, he said,

“Our family has lived (in Lagro) for over 70 years,” he said. “We’re not against change. We’re not against the trail. We’re not against economic development.

“But the problem is the lack of communication from the beginning when this all started.”

As far as the setback goes, “currently, we don’t have any record of where they want to put the trail,” he continued. “They’re not going to go through our property. … But we have to come to some kind of agreement on this trail and figure out what we’re going to do in the community and stop all this bickering and bull crap that’s going on back and forth that’s going on between the groups.

“That means everyone sitting in this room is going to have to start stepping up to the plate and doing a little bit more and a little bit quicker. We have people that are for it and we have people that are against it. It’s driving a lot of stakes in areas that it shouldn’t be driven. I don’t like seeing that.

“I’m asking you, and begging you, to start doing something a little quicker. I don’t know if you’re ignoring it. I’m not saying that you are. But whatever we have to do, ramp this up because it’s causing a lot of stress on a lot of people.”

The town has made tremendous strides in recent months, he said, noting the boat ramp revamped by the trail committee looks beautiful.

“But what good is it if no one can get along?” he asked, rhetorically. “At some point, someone responsible for our county is going to have to step up and say, ‘There are the rules you’re going to have to play by,’ and I’ve not seen that. And that is very, very frustrating.

“Let’s get something figured out. Let’s get something done, so we can stop all this stress in our community.”

Lagro Town Council member Jim Curless also spoke on the situation, saying the board thought it was an excellent thing for the town to pursue.

Much of the criticism for the trail, he continued, comes from those who don’t live in the town.

“I don’t know how many people that’s come and complained and coerced people in this town against this thing,” he said. “They have no business to come to this town when they live way out west of town and worry about things that haven’t even happened. This is Lagro, what we’re talking about. If they’ve got interest in Lagro, fine. If they don’t, then leave us alone.”

Curless also was critical of media coverage surrounding the trail, the boat ramp and more.

Adam Stakeman, who said he has biked on various trails around the state, spoke in favor of the trail. He also claimed that the trails are extremely clean and safe.

Posted on 2017 Aug 08