The Springdale City Council voted Tuesday night to build the planned Razorback Greenway trail system through several local private properties, despite failing to reach an agreement with the landowners.
Aldermen voted at the council’s regular monthly meeting to invoke eminent domain on 16 properties, allowing the city to build the trail system through the land. Under the measure, the land does not change ownership, and the landowners will still likely receive compensation from the city at a future date, said Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney.
The Razorback Greenway project entails building 36 miles of continuous trail, from southern Fayetteville to northern Bentonville. About 14 miles has been completed, according to the project’s official website.
The project requires area cities to obtain easements from 117 properties, about 70 of which go through Springdale. The city has reached an agreement with landowners on the vast majority of the easements, said Patsy Christie, the city’s director of planning and community development.
Springdale officials budgeted $125,000 toward purchasing easements through private properties for the Razorback Greenway system. Almost $97,000 has been spent on agreements with landowners, Christie said.
Springdale’s portion of the estimated $38 million project is covered by federal grant money.
“We sent out certified letters to all the property owners of record, as in the Washington County courthouse,” Christie said. “Most of those letters received; some of them were returned. We don`t have a forwarding address to send those to. We have sent staff members out there to hang notices on the door, asking us to contact. We went back and left letters.”
Christie said the city should take possession of the properties within two weeks. Construction could start as early as September.
5NEWS reporter Allison Woods caught up with city officials concerning the trail plan the morning before the vote. See her report here: