LC Walking Trail Closed
|A short section of Lenoir City's walking trail just
off Town Creek Road west, has been closed till further notice. The court
ordered closure came after a visit to the site by Circuit Court Judge
Russell E. Simmons. Simmons personally visited the section of the trail
in question. After the visit, Simmons issued the section of the trail
closed until somebody fixes the situation. Even though the closure is
just a short section of the trail, there is no way around the closed
area effetely closing down a large portion of the trail.
Click Here For Court Order.
The judges visit was prompted by an on going lawsuit brought by Lenoir City in an attempt to take George Sarten's property by eminent domain. When the city began phase two of the walking trail from Rock Springs Park to Lenoir City Middle School, city officials chose to locate a portion of the trail on property owned by Sarten. The trail was located at the base of a large fifty foot high mound of concert and rock filled area that was used to expand the private property. The city maintains that they had the right of eminent domain to take the section of Sarten's property to use for the trail. However the property on the north side of Town Creek was not within the city limits therefore the city had no authority to take the property.
Aside from potentially loosing their property to the city, the Sarten's main concern is the safety of those using the walking trail below the filled area. There is a constant threat that large rocks and concrete could roll down the steep grade to the trail. The Sarten's feel that the city has put the public in danger by constructing the trail in such close proximity to the fill area and that they, the Sartens, could be held liable if an accident were to occur.
Due to safety concerns and the city's failure to take any real preventative measures to protect the public, the Sartens at their own expense and labor installed one hundred and twenty feet of chain link fencing that would at least stop some of the smaller rubble were it to slide down the hill. On Friday while erecting the fence, Sarten and his work crew were told by Lenoir City Police officials that they were not allowed on the property due to the court order. Sarten and his crew still feeling the fence was needed for public safety, were forced to travel up and down the steep gravel hill to complete the construction of the fence.
When the city first proposed to build the walking trail at the base of the fill area Sarten warned city officials of the potential dangers of the fill area. Unfortunately, the city ignored the warning.