College Station city staff says they are going against a consultant's recommendations in an effort to step out of a neighborhood battle over a hike and bike trail.
After months of discussion, staff is proposing to reroute a 4-mile trail that was originally planned to go through the Springbrook community.
One side is the dozens of Springbrook residents opposed to the trail going through a common greenway in their neighborhood, and the other side is the Springbrook Homeowner's Association board who are for it.
"Clearly the two sides were not going to reach a resolution. There had been threats of litigation, and a whole host of other things. We didn't want to get in the middle of that,” said Bob Cowell with College Station Planning and Development Services.
After months of deliberation, Cowell sent an email Monday to the Springbrook HOA board which said “staff will be recommending to the Council that they proceed with the final design.... not using the HOA Common Area.'”
"We aren't talking about a 10-foot wide path or anything up in that area,” Cowell said.
The city staff proposal is to now have the Lick Creek Greenway Trail along Eagle Avenue, Longmire Drive, and Barron Road.
“We are just talking about making those sidewalks a little bit better like putting in accessible ramps. Those kinds of things,” said Cowell.
Although consultants for the trail recommend the city build the trail through the neighborhood, Cowell says that option isn't realistic. The city needs the Springbrook HOA to dedicate or sell their land to them in order to build the trail.
"People were still unhappy and coming forward. We wanted something that wouldn't create so much friction between the neighborhood,” said Cowell.
He would like residents to know they are listening, but hope the staff's recommendation sends a clear statement.
"It shouldn't be taken as a message that anytime some group doesn't get their way, they should just object loudly and suddenly things, that make sense otherwise, go away,” Cowell said.
A final decision on the route of the trail will be made by council Thursday.
Once the route is approved, construction will begin in the summer of 2013 and end by 2014.