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Neighbors against city plan to pave Ben Burr trail | News

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Neighbors against city plan to pave Ben Burr trail
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Neighbors against city plan to pave Ben Burr trail

A plan to create a paved bike path from the South Hill to downtown Spokane is drawing opposition from one neighborhood.

The city received a $1.7 Million grant to pave the Ben Burr trail from 11th down to Liberty Park and link the trail with the Centennial Trail. The Ben Burr trail was created as a rail line in the 1800s, was transformed into a walking path in the 1950s and some residents of the East Central neighborhood want the city to leave it the way it is.

"It won't be a nature trail. It will be a transportation corridor," Jerry Numbers said.

Numbers has been walking on the Ben Burr trail for more than 50 years. He and some of his neighbors are opposing a plan to pave the path.

"It's great to see bike connectivity in our city but this isn't the right place for it," Samantha Mace said.

The federal grant the city received is for creating a 10 to 12 foot wide asphalt path with two-foot shoulders on each side from 11th to the Centennial Trail in the University District.

"Those trees will be gone, these trees will be gone, you see how the trail will be built out," Robin Keizer said, adding that paving the path and adding required railings would ruin the trail.

"We'd like to keep a little nature around instead of having a paved city," Keizer added.

The neighbors say they're not opposed to the project just the part that involves the Ben Burr trail. Unfortunately, according to city spokesperson Julie Happy, the city's hands are tied. The grant requires the path be paved.

"We either say, 'No [we] don't want the funds' and don't do it, or we accept [the] funds and parameters that surround those funds," she said.

The city is expected to make a decision on what it will do early in 2014.

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