Hiking trail in the village of Walworth one step closer to the task | local news
A footpath in the village of Walworth that has raised some concerns among village officials is one step closer to completion.
Members of the Village of Walworth Plan Commission unanimously approved on February 21 to abandon a sidewalk across the street from Walworth Elementary School.
Whether to clear the trail has yet to be approved by members of the Walworth Village Board, who will vote on the matter on March 14.
The trail is at the end of the unmarked Hamlin Street opposite Walworth Elementary School and then descends Freemont Street.
The footpath at the end of Hamlin Street extends to a new development in the Walworth Prairie neighborhood development. The trail then connects to Savannah Drive east of the Spring Drive intersection.
Village officials have expressed concern for the safety of students from Walworth Elementary School crossing the Fremont Street area and walkway.
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The planning commission added a stipulation that leaving the walkway would entail notification to Immanuel United Church of Christ officials, as part of the walkway leads to the church.
“That’s the only place it would go,” said village planner Shaun Murlarkey. “It would be a public path that leads to private property.”
Mularkey said church officials have not said how they feel about the possibility of the trail being abandoned.
“It might have an advantage if it’s adjacent to church property, but we don’t have clear direction from them,” Mularkey said.
Louise Czaja, village president and chair of the planning commission, said she received an email from a church representative but her position on the trail was not clear.
“To be honest, I wasn’t very happy with the email,” Czaja said. “It just said ‘UCC Church’. I don’t know if it was perhaps an individual who wrote a letter for her to acknowledge that this is going to happen.”
Annie Zambito, member of the planning committee, recommended that the ward clerk send a written notice to the church.
Murlarkey said if the trail is abandoned, it would have to be removed from the village’s overall recovery plan.
“Eventually we would have to amend this document to remove it if it is abandoned,” Murlarkey said. “I think it makes sense. It’s not going anywhere. It doesn’t serve much purpose.”
Planning Commission members also unanimously approved the clearance of Hamlin Street on condition that the owners of properties adjacent to the street enter into an access and maintenance agreement detailing how the properties will be maintained.
“There will be a maintenance agreement between these two parties,” said Edward Snyder, a member of the planning committee. “It basically eliminates the road that leads to nowhere and a sidewalk that leads to nowhere.”
The maintenance contract would have to be drawn up by the lawyers of both property owners.
The proposal to clear Hamlin Street also has yet to be approved by the local council.