The majority of the St. Mary’s County Commissioners have temporarily derailed the next portion of the Three Notch Trail. Recreation and Parks Director Phil Rollins hopes to proceed with the section of the trail that stands between the completed portions in Oakville and Charlotte Hall. Those sections have proven to be popular with hikers and bikers.
But when Rollins brought to the commissioners a request for approval of a $50,000 federal grant for a portion of the design for the next phase, several commissioners balked. Commissioner Daniel Morris (R: 2nd) said there was opposition to the next section from some Mechanicsville residents.
“I think it would be more beneficial to do sections in California and Lexington Park,” Morris said. Eventually the trail would run from the county line in Charlotte Hall to the base along the county owned land that used to be a railroad.
Rollins said that about $30,000 had already been spent on engineering for the Mechanicsville section of the trail. He said the budget was for over $300,000 although he expected the total cost to come in under budget.
Commissioner Lawrence Jarboe (R: 3rd) agreed with Morris “There is tremendous opposition sentiment in Mechanicsville,” he said, noting that a proposal to complete the segment was stopped several years ago because of that opposition, mostly from residents who live adjacent to the right-of-way.
“I feel strongly about completing this trail,” said Commissioner President Francis “Jack” Russell. “I am not going to delay the action.
Commissioners Cynthia Jones (R: 1st) and Todd Morgan (R: 4th) went along with Morris’ motion, creating a 4-1 vote, as long as it didn’t cause a significant delay. “I support it but to not table it indefinitely, “Jones said.
Morgan said he went along with it in order to gather more facts. He noted the irony of Jarboe supporting the trail in California and Lexington Park but not the proposed FDR Boulevard.
County Administrator John Savich characterized the commissioner vote as tabling the discussion. Rollins was asked to bring back more information on the trail so it can be discussed at the commissioners’ January 10th meeting.