Is taking private property by eminent domain for more trails and spending millions of tax dollars needed right now?Most people in Berks County wince when they go to the gas station. It used to cost $20 or so to fill up the tank. Now it's $40, or $50, or even $100 for some trucks. We're pinching pennies just so we can go to work and go to the grocery store. That's why it seems unwise and unreasonable for the County Commissioners to use millions of our tax dollars just to add 10 more miles to the existing county trail system.

A swath 66 feet wide and 10 miles long taking pieces of nearly 50 private properties...

We believe the fact that taking property in a swath some 66 feet wide (that's wider than an interstate highway) and nearly 10 miles long (about 78 acres) under eminent domain is an abuse of power. Included are rural streets, farmlands placed in the Pennsylvania Ag Preservation Program, and even backyards. In fact, a report on the Berks County website states that the area being discussed already has twice as much recreational space as recommended by the National Recreation and Park Association.

What's worse, the Commissioners don't even know what the total cost to acquire, improve, and maintain this 10-mile section of the Hay Creek Trail will be. One out-of-state consultant hired by the Commissioners places the cost of just developing the 10 miles of trail after it's acquired at somewhere between $150,000 and $850,000 per mile-that's $1,500,000 to $8,500,000 (based on testimony of Mr. Jeff Case before County Commissioners, March 25, 2008) With a recession raging, is this responsible government spending? We think not!

Call or email the Berks County Commissioners. Tell them you don't want your tax dollars spent for unnecessary projects when common people are struggling just to get by.

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