The Wyoming to Reece’s Corners Trail under construction last year.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says the internal disputes about the Wyoming to Reece’s Trail have to stop.
Councilor Muriel Wright has taken town council to task for using money from the sale of road allowances – about $51,000 – to pay for the outstanding cost of the trail. When the project began, it was council’s goal to raise the entire amount for the trail by fundraising.
Wright maintained there was never a formal motion and during the July 9 council meeting said council was deceiving taxpayers by moving money around to pay for the trail when that wasn’t the original intention. She also cast much of the blame on the trail chair, Councilor Ben Dekker.
But after that meeting, Dekker and Wright agreed to put their differences behind them and move forward with the bulk of the trial paid for but allowing part of the committee to continue raising money for rest areas through a Block Party in August.
All of that was laid out in a July 22 meeting with the trail committee volunteers. Napper thought that news was well received until emails were circulated again raising concerns about the funding of the trail.
“At the trail meeting it seemed to me, we thought everything was resolved…but with the emails after the fact…there was no respect or professionalism,” said Napper in raising the issue.
So at Monday night’s planning meeting, Napper asked for a motion from 2012 which spelled out how the trail was to be funded to be reopened and changed. In a 6-1 vote – in which Wright was the only dissention – council agreed to include in that motion that the trail could be paid for with the money raised from the sale of unopened road allowances.
Dekker says without the financing from the unused road allowances, the trail would not have been built as early.
Napper says it was clear around the council table at the time that the majority of council was in agreement and council directed staff to make the payment even though there wasn’t a formal motion. Monday’s move formalizes the intent of council.
“I make no apologies for council, we used due diligence,” says Napper.
Deputy Mayor Don Nelson was satisfied the matter had been cleared up but wanted reassurances from Wright she would not be bringing up again. “Are you going to accept this…are you done with this now?”
Wright says she is still entitled to her own opinion but will live with the decision of council.
“I imagine we’ll hear more about this election time,” says Napper.
Dekker says the trail committee is still working on providing three to five rest areas and creating a sponsor recognition board but after that work is complete the trail will be turned over to the town’s parks committee for ongoing maintenance.