Belfast Eyes Railroad Corridor For Economic Boost 

The Belfast city council will vote next week on whether to buy an old stretch of railroad. City officials are considering spending $200,000 to buy the 3 mile stretch of railroad. Walter Ash is the Mayor of Belfast and a former railroad worker. “It will drop people right at the foot of Main street here and it will be good for business up and down the city,” he says, “economic development that’s the buzz word today.”But their plans for the railroad corridor don’t end there. The hope is to make a rail trail, a nature trail that would follow the rail corridor. Joe Slocum is the Belfast City Mnager and he sees a lot of potential for this project. “Our goal over the long term is to allow people to interconnect our downtown streets, our footbridge across the river, and a nature walk right up through the river for three miles,” he says.The Coastal Mountain Land Trust has agreed to contirbute $100,000 to the project. At a public meeting Monday night, the majority of those in attendance were in favor of the project, but there are a few concerns moving forward. “The only concerns I have, and an awful lot of people ask me about, is how we’re going to maintain it and what the actual price will be of it and that’s an unknown at this time,” syas Ash.”I think people are always concerned when you spend government dollars and understandably so,” adds Slocum, “I think some neighbors to this area were concerned about how this would affect their property which is completely understandable.”City officals think this project could serve as a tremendous benefit to those who live in the area. “They can use it everyday,” says Slocum, “you can be out in the country and walk in to the downtown area and shop or get your mail or have lunch. Or you can be in the downtown area and walk out into the wilderness and see osprey and things like that along the river.”