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Old 12-05-2018, 08:28 AM   #1
joey2665
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Default Wow trail

City is spending 40k for a feasibility study on the extension of the trail.

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...315ddb3db.html



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Old 12-05-2018, 01:37 PM   #2
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Default Another Lie

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Originally Posted by joey2665 View Post
City is spending 40k for a feasibility study on the extension of the trail.

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/news...315ddb3db.html



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Yet another lie from our City Council to the taxpayers of Laconia. We were told that they would spend $10K, and that the WOW Trail organization would cover it. Disappointing.

The good news is that the WOW Trail extension to Meredith seems impossible based on the financial and non-financial obstacles.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Major View Post
The good news is that the WOW Trail extension to Meredith seems impossible based on the financial and non-financial obstacles.
Forgive my ignorance, but why would this be considered good news?
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:42 PM   #4
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Forgive my ignorance, but why would this be considered good news?


I guessing Major is against extending the trail


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Old 12-05-2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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Forgive my ignorance, but why would this be considered good news?
1. Waste of taxpayer money for construction and maintenance, especially given its limited use.
2. Bad for the environment, especially during construction.
3. Impinges on the rights of landowners along the trail.
4. If the organizers get their wish, it will eliminate a profitable rail car enterprise.
5. Will create an unsightly fence all along Paugus Bay.
6. It's a continuance of an avenue of egress for criminals who inhabit the present trail.
7. The WOW Trail is merely a feel good endeavor for Laconia elites.

I'm sure I forgot some. Jetskiier can fill in the gaps!
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Major View Post
1. Waste of taxpayer money for construction and maintenance, especially given its limited use.
2. Bad for the environment, especially during construction.
3. Impinges on the rights of landowners along the trail.
4. If the organizers get their wish, it will eliminate a profitable rail car enterprise.
5. Will create an unsightly fence all along Paugus Bay.
6. It's a continuance of an avenue of egress for criminals who inhabit the present trail.
7. The WOW Trail is merely a feel good endeavor for Laconia elites.

I'm sure I forgot some. Jetskiier can fill in the gaps!
Thank you for clarifying your position. To be clear, I haven't formed an opinion on the trail one way or the other, but I'm a year-round Meredith resident so found your original comment interesting. A rebuttal to your 7 points from a "devil's-advocate" standpoint.

1. That's what the study is for, to determine if it's worth the investment. I grant you that one could argue that 40K for the study is waste enough.
2. No worse than any other construction, so should we just avoid improving any infrastructure? In today's society, DES would ensure that the environmental impacts would be minimal.
3. I'm not going to address this one. This forum has seen too much back and forth regarding whether the WOW trail is impinging on the rights of abutting landowners. I understand both sides and each person needs to make their own judgement.
4. There's no reason the two can't co-exist.
5. What's unsightly to some may be aesthetically pleasing to someone else. I haven't seen the fence design and have not even seen confirmation that a fence the full length of the trail would be required. There are already many unsightly things along Paugus Bay, a fence would be the least of our worries.
6. This is unfounded and amounts to fear-mongering IMO.
7. I know many good people on both sides of the issue. They are spread up and down the socioeconomic spectrum. Some would counter that it is a few "Laconia Elites" in a certain gated community that are the project's biggest objectors, so declaring the WOW Trail a movement propelled by "Laconia Elites" really isn't accurate.

Again, I very much respect your position on the issue, just merely playing devil's advocate.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TheVoiceOfReason View Post
Thank you for clarifying your position. To be clear, I haven't formed an opinion on the trail one way or the other, but I'm a year-round Meredith resident so found your original comment interesting. A rebuttal to your 7 points from a "devil's-advocate" standpoint.

1. That's what the study is for, to determine if it's worth the investment. I grant you that one could argue that 40K for the study is waste enough.
2. No worse than any other construction, so should we just avoid improving any infrastructure? In today's society, DES would ensure that the environmental impacts would be minimal.
3. I'm not going to address this one. This forum has seen too much back and forth regarding whether the WOW trail is impinging on the rights of abutting landowners. I understand both sides and each person needs to make their own judgement.
4. There's no reason the two can't co-exist.
5. What's unsightly to some may be aesthetically pleasing to someone else. I haven't seen the fence design and have not even seen confirmation that a fence the full length of the trail would be required. There are already many unsightly things along Paugus Bay, a fence would be the least of our worries.
6. This is unfounded and amounts to fear-mongering IMO.
7. I know many good people on both sides of the issue. They are spread up and down the socioeconomic spectrum. Some would counter that it is a few "Laconia Elites" in a certain gated community that are the project's biggest objectors, so declaring the WOW Trail a movement propelled by "Laconia Elites" really isn't accurate.

Again, I very much respect your position on the issue, just merely playing devil's advocate.
Thanks. I enjoy the debate. I will address your comments in reverse order.

7. I grew up in Laconia, and trust me, none of the Laconia elites live in SD/LB. They are comprised of small business owners in the area. I can name names, but don't think it's worthwhile.

6. Regarding whether the WOW Trail is an avenue of egress for criminals, it's not opinion but fact. In another thread (I couldn't find it), the City published the number of incidents (calls) for the WOW Trail. It's staggering, something like 150 incidents over a six-year period. This number does not include the number of homeless people living in camps off of the WOW Trail that require evacuation from time-to-time. Also, I've had conversations with a former police chief who described the WOW Trail as an "avenue of egress" for criminals. The police are instructed to publicly downplay the criminal element, but privately, they hate the WOW Trail since it makes policing difficult.

5. Regarding the fence, if the trail and the railroad coexist, I'm pretty sure a fence is required. A fence will most certainly be required through SD/LB and in front of other private property if only for liability reasons.

4. WOW Trail organizers are going to make a heavy push for legislation to eliminate the railroad. If successful, this will achieve at least two advantages. It reduces the cost of construction. It also eliminates some huge design issues with Pickerel and Perch Coves.

3. Agreed.

2. Removing the railroad would incur some huge environmental issues caused by the chemically treated rail ties.

1. As a taxpayer, I don't want to pay for it.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:25 PM   #8
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Since this is an active Railroad I see no justification that it should be eliminated.

If this rail spur is abandoned then it starts a different discussion.

Safety is a major issue for both to coexist next to each other. Additionally, personal safety "could" be an issue due to potential criminal activity.



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Old 12-05-2018, 04:58 PM   #9
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As far as the fence goes, there are current 2 types of fences along the trail. Near the Belmont line there is a very nice would rail fence but in most of the Laconia portion it is an unsightly chain link fence that would look absolutely terrible along the lakefront.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:04 PM   #10
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My opinion is that the trail extension is supported by a few people who need a consulting firm to come up with the justification for its construction.



What is the status of the Colonial Theatre project?

I did not live in Laconia when that project was considered, accepted and started.

Is there a parallel to what is happening with the WOW trail?

How much tax payer money went into the still closed theatre?

If the theatre ever gets finished, where will people park to see a performance?

The downtown parking garage has safety issues and likely needs to be replaced.



Why is the city wasting money on studying the WOW Trail extension when these two items are in need?

See the opinion offered at the begining of this post.

BTW...

$40K could buy a good part of the annual salary for a police officer or teacher.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:39 PM   #11
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Has the east side of Paugus Bay been ruled out? The tracks that went up that side are obviously abandoned. Much more commercial opportunities. Still can get to the Weirs and/or Gilford.

The commercial opportunities on the west side are what? SD/LB Grandchildren’s lemonade stands?

BTW, have you counted how many registered offenders are in the Lake Port area?

https://www.familywatchdog.us/showmap.asp


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Old 12-06-2018, 05:42 AM   #12
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Why does the city have to pay the 40k for a feasibility study. Shouldn’t this be paid from funds raised by the WOW Trail organization? This is their project not a city project.


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Old 12-06-2018, 07:00 AM   #13
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Most of my family is from Cape Cod (yeah - I'm a recovering masshole...) . I remember the same battle playing out and the many of the exact same arguments being made against the Cape Cod rail trail. Now in its 4th decade, it is a huge tourist draw and real estate adjacent to the trail commands a significant premium.

Wolfeboro has a rather nice and heavily used railtrail and to the best of my knowledge there is no significant crime that occurs along the trail.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #14
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Most of my family is from Cape Cod (yeah - I'm a recovering masshole...) . I remember the same battle playing out and the many of the exact same arguments being made against the Cape Cod rail trail. Now in its 4th decade, it is a huge tourist draw and real estate adjacent to the trail commands a significant premium.



Wolfeboro has a rather nice and heavily used railtrail and to the best of my knowledge there is no significant crime that occurs along the trail.


I really don’t think crime is a big issue. Nothing will change what’s the difference if them “criminals” walk along the current tracks or a trail. I had my home broken into by criminals coming into Long Bay from the tracks.

I am in favor of the trail but with the following caveats:

1. There must be an amicable agreement with the majority of owners along the trail including developments like South Down and Long Bay

2. NO chain link fencing, it must be esthetically pleasing and have sufficient access points to the lake.

3. The rail road must remain

4. Funding MUST NOT come from the city, raising money privately as they first two phases were

Given my stance I seriously doubt the next phase will be completed




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Old 12-06-2018, 07:35 AM   #15
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I have been a Rails to Trails member in Florida and have biked and walked several of them while on vacation and enjoy it very much.
Those trails, however, do not require fences or run in front of peoples homes.
I can't imagine a 4 mile long chain link fence across the entire Paugus Bay waterfront. Not only would it be unsightly but deer and other animals would be cut off from the water.
I have no dog in this fight since I don't live anywhere near South Down and my concern is the impact on our beautiful shore front.
My suggestion would be to let it go....The WOW trail organizers mean well but it seems that they have accomplished their goal. The trail extends from Winnisquam to Winnipesaukee
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by winnipiseogee View Post
Most of my family is from Cape Cod (yeah - I'm a recovering masshole...) . I remember the same battle playing out and the many of the exact same arguments being made against the Cape Cod rail trail. Now in its 4th decade, it is a huge tourist draw and real estate adjacent to the trail commands a significant premium.

Wolfeboro has a rather nice and heavily used railtrail and to the best of my knowledge there is no significant crime that occurs along the trail.
Wolfeboro has a different demographic than Laconia, which has a disproportionate share of Section 8 housing and several drug treatment centers. If you spend any time in downtown Laconia you will be sure to see the criminal element.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:35 PM   #17
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3. The rail road must remain

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Joey - Everything else you mention seems to make sense but I've got to ask - and I'm doing so in good faith but relative ignorance - why is it so important for the railroad to remain?

I've lived in the lakes region full time for about 15 years. For a long time I owned a house on Meredith bay opposite the rail road tracks. I own a business that abutts the tracks. After selling my house on the bay I kept my boat at Meredith Marina. In all that time I've only seen the train running maybe half a dozen times at most.

I just googled their website and I'm amazed that it shows that many scheduled runs. I guess it must be used a lot but I never see it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:56 PM   #18
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Joey - Everything else you mention seems to make sense but I've got to ask - and I'm doing so in good faith but relative ignorance - why is it so important for the railroad to remain?

I've lived in the lakes region full time for about 15 years. For a long time I owned a house on Meredith bay opposite the rail road tracks. I own a business that abutts the tracks. After selling my house on the bay I kept my boat at Meredith Marina. In all that time I've only seen the train running maybe half a dozen times at most.

I just googled their website and I'm amazed that it shows that many scheduled runs. I guess it must be used a lot but I never see it.
It is someone's going concern that has been a successful business for years. I had lived in Long Bay for 10 years about 250 yards from the tracks and I also enjoys using the railroad at least once a year (My guests love it also) and it adds character and ambiance to the area. I'm still in the area just a bit further from the tacks now, I do miss hearing it and watching it go by from my old deck.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:38 PM   #19
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Just a few questions:

Didn't most, if not all, of the people in SD/LB know prior to purchasing their homes that the development did not own the waterfront so their input and approval was not necessary to get the WOW trail built?

Would the same people who object to the WOW trail now have objected if the railroad was not there and someone was now suggesting putting down tracks and having a train go by and blow the whistle several times a day?

What is more intrusive: People walking on a trail or a train that goes by blowing the whistle several times per day?
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:48 PM   #20
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Just a few questions:

Didn't most, if not all, of the people in SD/LB know prior to purchasing their homes that the development did not own the waterfront so their input and approval was not necessary to get the WOW trail built?

Would the same people who object to the WOW trail now have objected if the railroad was not there and someone was now suggesting putting down tracks and having a train go by and blow the whistle several times a day?

What is more intrusive: People walking on a trail or a train that goes by blowing the whistle several times per day?
1) I purchase over the years in both SD and LB and it was NEVER disclosed to me on any document that the HOA's did not own the waterfront property

2) I'm sure they would have (for the record give the guidelines I presented in an above post I am in favor of the trail)

3) I don't think given the current structure either is intrusive


Love to hear what Jet Skier has to say. We differ in opinion but I do respect his side.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:31 PM   #21
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BTW, have you counted how many registered offenders are in the Lake Port area?

https://www.familywatchdog.us/showmap.asp


Wow, there are a LOT. Who knew it was that many? Not me....
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:52 PM   #22
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Joey - Everything else you mention seems to make sense but I've got to ask - and I'm doing so in good faith but relative ignorance - why is it so important for the railroad to remain?

I've lived in the lakes region full time for about 15 years. For a long time I owned a house on Meredith bay opposite the rail road tracks. I own a business that abutts the tracks. After selling my house on the bay I kept my boat at Meredith Marina. In all that time I've only seen the train running maybe half a dozen times at most.

I just googled their website and I'm amazed that it shows that many scheduled runs. I guess it must be used a lot but I never see it.


Because the rail corridor is under common carrier status and subject to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) jurisdiction. A petition for abandonment would have to be filed with them and approved by them, be for any rail can be pulled up. That's kind of hard to do when you have two operating railroads on the line.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:39 PM   #23
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1) I purchase over the years in both SD and LB and it was NEVER disclosed to me on any document that the HOA's did not own the waterfront property

2) I'm sure they would have (for the record give the guidelines I presented in an above post I am in favor of the trail)

3) I don't think given the current structure either is intrusive


Love to hear what Jet Skier has to say. We differ in opinion but I do respect his side.
Hi Joey,

Sorry about the late entry into the discussion. I was in California with a client and just got back into town on the red eye this morning.

The frontage along Paugus was "taken" by the state in (I believe) 1973 when B&M railroad could not afford to make repairs to the tracks north of Meredith. A section of the track washed out and there was an active paper mill serviced by the railroad at that time. The taking by the state was explicitly to preserve the integrity of the rail system and specific to railroad use.

OK, right now there is a legislative action in draft in Concord that will become public in early January. The prevailing belief is that it is intended to create an abandonment of the railroad to re-purpose the rail bed for rails-to-trails vs. rails-with-trails. See the link below.

There are two active rail users of the proposed extension to the WOW trail. One is the Hobo railroad that provides the tourist excursions several times per day during the summer. The second is the New England Southern Railroad (see attached picture) which is an active freight line. The New England Southern Railroad has runs up to Lincoln predominantly in the spring and fall when the Hobo railroad is not operating. They carry large freight including rail cars for the MBTA in Boston.

SD and LB both have rights of access to the lake and I have never heard of any disclosure regarding the disposition of the taking as historically it has not had any bearing on the community. I certainly had no disclosure when I bought my property.

I think that shutting down two active businesses to construct a recreational trail is not rational from any perspective.


http://www.unionleader.com/news/poli...d8c442fc8.html
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:50 PM   #24
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Because the rail corridor is under common carrier status and subject to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) jurisdiction. A petition for abandonment would have to be filed with them and approved by them, be for any rail can be pulled up. That's kind of hard to do when you have two operating railroads on the line.
My understanding is that abandonment requires federal approval in addition to state approval. Typically, abandonment is requested by the company that owns the RR ROW. Since there was a taking, this situation is rather unique. Anyhow, the standard in New Hampshire is that the rail line needs to be unused for a minimum of 2 years.

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Old 12-06-2018, 06:15 PM   #25
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Yes, the state would be the one to file the petition but they can't until after all operating railroads file a discontinuance with the STB. Since both the Plymouth and Lincoln Railroad and New England Southern Railroad make their living using those tracks, it's unlikely they would ever do so. Just the Winnipesaukee Scenic railroad alone averages about a million a year in revenue for the parent company Plymouth and Lincoln. You think the Clark family who, owns the railroad is about to give that up? I think not.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:29 PM   #26
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My understanding is that abandonment requires federal approval in addition to state approval. Typically, abandonment is requested by the company that owns the RR ROW. Since there was a taking, this situation is rather unique. Anyhow, the standard in New Hampshire is that the rail line needs to be unused for a minimum of 2 years.



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Old 12-06-2018, 06:33 PM   #27
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Hi Joey,



Sorry about the late entry into the discussion. I was in California with a client and just got back into town on the red eye this morning.



The frontage along Paugus was "taken" by the state in (I believe) 1973 when B&M railroad could not afford to make repairs to the tracks north of Meredith. A section of the track washed out and there was an active paper mill serviced by the railroad at that time. The taking by the state was explicitly to preserve the integrity of the rail system and specific to railroad use.



OK, right now there is a legislative action in draft in Concord that will become public in early January. The prevailing belief is that it is intended to create an abandonment of the railroad to re-purpose the rail bed for rails-to-trails vs. rails-with-trails. See the link below.



There are two active rail users of the proposed extension to the WOW trail. One is the Hobo railroad that provides the tourist excursions several times per day during the summer. The second is the New England Southern Railroad (see attached picture) which is an active freight line. The New England Southern Railroad has runs up to Lincoln predominantly in the spring and fall when the Hobo railroad is not operating. They carry large freight including rail cars for the MBTA in Boston.



SD and LB both have rights of access to the lake and I have never heard of any disclosure regarding the disposition of the taking as historically it has not had any bearing on the community. I certainly had no disclosure when I bought my property.



I think that shutting down two active businesses to construct a recreational trail is not rational from any perspective.





http://www.unionleader.com/news/poli...d8c442fc8.html


I absolutely agree shutting down two businesses for a trail is completely irrational.

Interesting information. I did not know the Clark Family owns the Hobo and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railways.


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Old Yesterday, 12:40 PM   #28
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Post Interesting letter to the editor

https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opin...b58f6d6f1.html

Incidentally, the economic study that the city of Laconia has commissioned with Alta is going to cost about $40k. The original Lipman proposal was $10k to be paid for by the WOW Committee. So now, tax payer dollars are funding a study to remove the tracks and shut down two businesses. Really!

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Old Yesterday, 01:47 PM   #29
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https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opin...b58f6d6f1.html

Incidentally, the economic study that the city of Laconia has commissioned with Alta is going to cost about $40k. The original Lipman proposal was $10k to be paid for by the WOW Committee. So now, tax payer dollars are funding a study to remove the tracks and shut down two businesses. Really!

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What are the two businesses in jeopardy of being shut down? Are they using State owned property to turn a profit?
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Old Yesterday, 01:49 PM   #30
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Why do all these towns/cities spend so much money on STUDIES?? We are studied to death! Isn't there enough talent employed (by town/cities) and maybe add some citizens willing to volunteer?
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Old Yesterday, 02:03 PM   #31
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Why do all these towns/cities spend so much money on STUDIES?? We are studied to death! Isn't there enough talent employed (by town/cities) and maybe add some citizens willing to volunteer?
I would dare say that a study by towns/cities (even with citizens weighing in) would be biased. Imagine the results if some of the people commenting on this thread were involved with the study!
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Old Yesterday, 02:07 PM   #32
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I would dare say that a study by towns/cities (even with citizens weighing in) would be biased. Imagine the results if some of the people commenting on this thread were involved with the study!
I thought of that as I was typing but do they always do what is recommended by these studies anyway? I think they do what they want regardless. I think often studies are only the result of what they are told by the people who hired them. Ever been involved in a study?
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Old Yesterday, 04:59 PM   #33
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Default rail trails and the crime bogey man

I appreciate that neighbors are concerned about crime. We all are worried about crime however saying they oppose the rail trail because it would be a thoroughfare for criminals to use is a bit of stretch. Do you close roadways because a burglar escapes by car?

I have been on dozens of rail trails around the country and they are avenues where people who appreciate exercise and the outdoors go to recreate safely. There is even a rail trail on the Kennebec River near Augusta Maine that shares a corridor with an active railroad and they co exist just fine. Literally hundreds of people a day use the trail (and probably pushes to a thousand or more in the summer). Businesses have been established along the trail to cater to trail users. Publicity by inns, restaurants and bars all cite their proximity to the trail.

Give the trail a chance. It will turn out to be a huge asset to the area.
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Old Yesterday, 05:19 PM   #34
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Post Hobo Railroad and NH Southern Railroad

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What are the two businesses in jeopardy of being shut down? Are they using State owned property to turn a profit?
They are the Hobo railroad which runs the tourist train along the route and NH Southern Railroad which runs freight in the spring and fall via that route.

The Hobo Railroad has a contract with the state for operation along the route and NH Southern Railroad is a common carrier with a federal license to operate.

The Hobo railroad would be completely shutdown and the NH Southern Railroad would lose the northern portion of their operating route.

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Old Yesterday, 05:28 PM   #35
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Post It is a legitimate concern.

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I appreciate that neighbors are concerned about crime. We all are worried about crime however saying they oppose the rail trail because it would be a thoroughfare for criminals to use is a bit of stretch. Do you close roadways because a burglar escapes by car?

I have been on dozens of rail trails around the country and they are avenues where people who appreciate exercise and the outdoors go to recreate safely. There is even a rail trail on the Kennebec River near Augusta Maine that shares a corridor with an active railroad and they co exist just fine. Literally hundreds of people a day use the trail (and probably pushes to a thousand or more in the summer). Businesses have been established along the trail to cater to trail users. Publicity by inns, restaurants and bars all cite their proximity to the trail.

Give the trail a chance. It will turn out to be a huge asset to the area.
Take a look at the crime heat map

https://www.trulia.com/real_estate/L...mpshire/crime/

Also there have been a significant number of crimes, homeless encampments etc...along the existing trail. It is a legitimate concern.

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Old Yesterday, 06:33 PM   #36
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I really don't mean this question to be as snarky as it sounds - I am sincere in my interest.

Does everyone opposed to the Wow trail live in Southdown or are there opponents to the project from outside that community?

I ask because I spent a good bit rereading all the old threads and it seems like everyone criticism of the Wow trail comes for someone who self identities as a southdown resident.
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Old Yesterday, 07:20 PM   #37
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Post Yes, there are others.

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I really don't mean this question to be as snarky as it sounds - I am sincere in my interest.

Does everyone opposed to the Wow trail live in Southdown or are there opponents to the project from outside that community?

I ask because I spent a good bit rereading all the old threads and it seems like everyone criticism of the Wow trail comes for someone who self identities as a southdown resident.
There are many others...residents of Paugus Park, Long Bay, snowmobiliers and several of the marinas. Note that it is the route that is problematic and not the concept of the trail. There have been proposals for alternative routes, but that has fallen on deaf ears. Given that they are proposing to remove the tracks, you can add railroad enthusiasts, NH DOT etc...to the list.
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Old Yesterday, 08:14 PM   #38
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Respectfully Jetskier, here is what I am struggling with - The residents of Paugus Bay Park, Southdown, Longbay and the owners of the marinas all own property that abuts a public right of way. But they don't want the public on that right of way. They want them somewhere else. Somewhere not next to them.

Its like buying a house next to a park and then arguing that the park should be closed so that you don't heave to deal with people next to your house. Am I missing something here?

I understand why the railroad owners have a strong argument that their businesses shouldn't be harmed.

I'm just learning about the WOW trail so I will fully admit I may be ignorant of some important facts. What am I missing here?

Also I'm just thinking about the snowmobilers. Is it that the snowmobilers use the rails in the winter as part of their trail network and don't want other uses of the trails? It doesn't seem fair to limit recreational use of a public right of way to a single type of use.
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