The Trails Committee and friends working on the Town Link Trail. Courtesy photo.

Laurie Thompson, Co-Chair Trails Committee

Thank you all for the healthy debate through Front Porch Forum, at our Trails public meetings in November and February, and with friends and neighbors about the Town Link Trail and Article 6. This is democracy in action.

There have been many points made on all sides, and there has also been some misinformation in several posts. I would like to clear up any misconceptions by stating the facts about the Town Link Trail and Article 6.

This $40,000 investment in trails, Article 6, is probably a one-shot deal. That is why it was not added to the budget.

The Selectboard created Article 6 to show commitment to this alternative transportation trail and to help get the trail done more swiftly.

With this $40,000, we can leverage the money to get up to $400,000 in grant funding.

To date, the Trails Committee has received three grants totaling $85,000. The town has supported these grant efforts with $15,000 (which has come out of our annual request for $5,000 over the past three years). We have fund-raised $35,000 through an annual fundraising campaign (these are non-tax dollars). All the money raised goes toward design, permitting and construction of the trail.

The Trails Committee has tried very hard to defray most of the cost of this trail with grants and fundraising so as little as possible would come out of our taxes.

The cost per household for Article 6 is about $20–25 depending on your property value.

The all-volunteer Trails Committee has put in hundreds of hours of maintenance on our trails.

Putting in blood, sweat and tears (of joy!) to maintain our trails is one of the prerequisites for a Trails Committee member.

This trail is not like our other loop trails in town. The Town Link Trail is an alternative transportation route to connect neighborhoods with important destinations in our town. It is a way for Charlotters to get around town without getting into our cars and a way to stay off our very busy roads when biking, walking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

We on the Trails Committee understand that not everyone uses trails. But not everyone uses our beach or the tennis courts or the ball fields, and not everyone uses the Senior Center or the library or the Grange or the school. Yet some people use each of these resources, and it’s the combination of these resources that makes ours a vibrant community.

Please vote YES for Article 6.