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Johnston residents suffer with division of town council over walking trail

web posted March 19, 2007

OPINION – The recently debated walking trail in Johnston seems to be dead, at least for this coming fiscal year. The original proposed site, the Jaycee Park, was a non-issue until Mayor Willie Campbell decided the town needed “to heal” and suggested the walking trail be placed at Watson Park, which is still under construction. The only “healing” that needs to take place now is from the division that was created by inserting Watson Park at the last minute in the planning.

Councilwoman Tyra Miller, who was often vocal in support of the trail being placed at the Jaycee Park, said in the past that she did not understand placing the walking trail at Watson Park since excavation work still needs to be completed. When the work is done the trail would be destroyed. However, at March Town Council meeting Miller was the one to make the motion to locate the walking trail at Watson Park.  The vote failed as Council members Miller and Nicholson joined Mayor Campbell in a tie vote against councilmen Smith, Burton, and Holmes, who support the Jaycee Park location.

Though no one won in the voting - the town residents lost their chance of having a walking trail at either location. The deadline for submitting a grant request will close this week and the town does not have the money budgeted to fund the project on its own.

It all seems so silly.

Rather than urging the council to come together for the betterment of the town Mayor Campbell chose to muddy the waters by suggesting a change in the location at the last minute. That is not leadership.

There seems to be an unspoken issue at the root of Mayor Campbell’s constant problems with the town council. Maybe he needs to do some “healing” on his own. The reality is Mayor Campbell is the one responsible for dividing a once united town and council.


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