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Request advances for funds to lengthen Tobacco Heritage Trail / November 09, 2017

Halifax County Supervisors agreed Monday to seek grant funding of $587,355 from VDOT and the Virginia Tobacco Commission to extend the Tobacco Heritage Trail another 1.6 miles to Miry Creek.

Approval came on a 6-1-1 vote, with ED-5 Supervisor Joey Rogers in opposition and ED-6 Supervisor Larry Giordano abstaining from the vote.

An adjacent property owner, Jimmy Harris, told supervisors that he and his brother run a cattle operation on the land that runs along both sides of the planned trail extension. Harris said that he had received no notice about the plan and only learned about it from reading the newspaper. Harris said he couldn’t afford to fence the area beside the trail and it would put him out of business.

“What do you think someone would do if they were faced by a big bull as they walked along the trail?” Harris asked.

Supervisors stressed, however, that the trail extension has long been planned, adding to the 2.5 mile segment that begins at the Cotton Mill park and runs past the Berry Hill Resort. With financing now available from both VDOT and the Tobacco Commission, board members said they felt the time has come to move forward with the project.

In other business, supervisors also heard a request from the couple who bought the former Wilson Memorial School property. Steven Hansen and Amy Gautier asked that the current access road to the Wilson Memorial Collection Center be abandoned and a new access way be established on adjacent property still owned by the county.

It was noted that when Hansen and Gautier bought the school property from the county, it was the county’s intent to preserve public access to the center.

But the couple explained that creating a new access road would improve their living conditions and enhance the safety of their property, since they have numerous concerns about traffic crossing the existing easement.

Board members emphasized they have no “dog in the fight” since the couple had bought the property “as is,” with the easement in place to allow public access to the convenience center. As a consequence, supervisors took no action on the request.

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