Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Path for the public good

Journal Inquirer
July 8, 2006

By several letters to the editors of area newspa;pers, Joseph Rafala has shown us the meaning of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

Rafala has attacked the Manchester Land Trust; our past president, Theresa Parla; me, the current president; and others.

The reason for his attacks is that on Dec. 19 the land trust purchased a 1-mile section of the old Cheney railroad, a portion of which runs past his back yard.

Since the railroad ceased using this 2-mile stretch of rail in 1976, Rafala has objected to anyone, including the town of Manchester, about keeping the line intact for use by the public as part of a trail system.

He reacted angrily when the land trust purchased the mile behind his house using grants of $50,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and $5,000 from the SBM Charitable Foundation. A DEP grant condition is that the land trust open a path for members of the public to hike on the rail line.

Thanks to volunteers such as Mark Connors, the trust's portion of the Cheney Rail Trail is open and the public has been walking it.

I hope for a day when the whole Cheney Rail Trail will be reassembled, so the public can walk from the Cheney mill district all the way to the North End. Along the way, they can stop at Center Springs Park. This historic and scenic route will be free from cars and trucks, tree-lined, and restful. It will add to the value of the town of Manchester, and particularly to the homes along it.

In the meantime, the land trust will continue its mission: the preservation of open spaces for the public good.

Malcolm F. Barlow

The writer is president of the Manchester Land Trust.