MOUNT VERNON — Being a county commissioner can sometimes be a delicate dance. Responding to constituents and balancing their concerns against the public interest is a continuous and necessary function of the office, but the finesse with which it is done often determines whether an issue ends amicably or continues in contention. This concern was in mind Thursday morning as the board of commissioners met with longtime landowner, resident and farmer Ron Piar, whose property abuts the Heart of Ohio Trail.
The Mount Vernon end of the trail is near the point where it can be opened for unimproved use, because the bridge over Dry Creek, visible from Henry Road, has been completed. Though later improvements such as paving the path and installing a crossing under Ohio 3/U.S. 36 are planned, the commissioners would like to have the trail accessible as much as possible before then.
But some work needs to be done on the old railroad bed, as reported previously in the News, because Piar’s neighbor, Larry Nelson, owner and proprietor of Pacemakers Dragway, made some alterations when he leased the bed from the railroad. Nelson excavated part of the bed, which runs between his and Piar’s properties, for use as pit parking. In hopes of keeping that area, which is now owned by the county, Nelson proposed to the commissioners in December to lease it. In exchange, he would shift the trail slightly southeast, to the edge of the county’s right of way, directly against Piar’s property, and he would smooth out the sudden drop in the railroad bed where he had excavated.