Families Fight City\'s Plan to Build Trail

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COLUMBIA - Residents of one neighborhood are upset about the possibility of a new trail running through their backyards. Families in East Pointe neighborhood are among those who are fighting the $1.5 million Grindstone Creek Trail Development Project.

Jackie and James Baker said they bought their home in East Pointe four years ago because of the private backyard that backs up to Grindstone Creek. However, if this trail development plan is approved, they are considering moving.

Baker said it's not only the lack of privacy that makes her oppose the plan. She said the safety of her children is her biggest concern.

"We had thought that we could safely let them play, run around out here, keep an eye on them of course, but we wouldn't have to worry about other people in the area coming through. You bring in a trail, anybody can walk by," Baker said.

Another resident in East Pointe called this plan a waste of taxpayer's money. Baker agrees. In the past 4 years, the Baker's entire backyard has flooded at least 4 times.

The East Pointe Neighborhood Association voted against this proposed trail route. This plan would require the city to take two East Pointe families' land.

"I think that it's going to come down to eminent domain and they're going to be taking people's private property that we actually own and run right through the middle of it," Baker said.

Senior Park Planner Mike Snyder said the trail is for the good of the public. Snyder said the proposed trail is intended to connect residential areas to workplaces.

"It connects a huge workforce area back to the main trail system for Columbia and from there it connects to lots of different residential areas as well as to downtown Columbia."

The project is in the early stages of development. However, Snyder said if the city council approves the proposal, construction could begin as early as next spring.