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Proposed Fall Line Trail sparking safety concerns

Proposed Fall Line Trail sparking safety concerns.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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Colonial Heights, Va. (WWBT) - The proposed Fall Line Trail by the Virginia Department of Transportation is sparking safety concerns for homeowners who would be directly impacted by the corridor.

The proposed 43-mile trail would stretch across seven localities from Ashland to Petersburg including Hanover, Henrico, Richmond, Chesterfield and Colonial Heights.

The multi-use trail would run right through homeowners’ backyards. In Colonial Heights, residents believe the trail would act as a corridor for potential crime.

Tim Minitree of Colonial Heights said the trail would be just shy of 40 yards from his backyard where his youngest of three children play.

“She’s going to be out here playing what if she gets snatched or kidnapped for lack of better terms?,” Minitree said.

Minitree said he was never notified by VDOT of the proposed trail. Worried about the safety of his family, he and his wife started an online petition challenging VDOT’s construction of the trail.

VDOT received mixed reactions at public meetings held last week for communities impacted by the trail.

“They were excited about it especially a lot of bike riders. Especially those who run and it’s a safe way for those who run and bike and not be on the road. You can be on a path away from traffic,” Sara Owens, with VDOT communications said.

Sarah Norkus of Colonial Heights had a different view.

“I’ve been on nature trails and I’ve never been on a nature trail that’s behind people’s homes, ever,” Norkus said. “I said why would you put it behind? And not just behind people’s homes but, so close,” she said.

The trail would sit just 15 yards from her backyard she said. Norkus said she was notified by mail about VDOT’s community meeting, but worries the trail would lead to theft and vandalism right outside their door.

“We know our neighbors. We see them in the backyard. They see us in the backyard. We don’t know who’s going to be walking and seeing us in our backyard,” Norkus said.

Owens said VDOT is aware of the concerns and said nothing is set in stone.

“Everything is in preliminary design and well look at comments and that could shape the way things go,” Owens said. “There’s no formal trail plan has been determined, but our goal is to utilize as many existing easements as we can,”

According to VDOT’s website, the construction of the trail would start next year. VDOT will be accepting feedback about the trail until Sunday, May 15.

That survey can be found here.

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