When it comes to a proposal for a walking/biking path in Grangeville, we have this to say:

Let’s hear more.

Last week, the Grangeville Highway District opened up its idea to public comment and questioning: developing a 1.8-mile loop west of town for use by pedestrians and bicyclists. Their main purpose behind this is public safety; addressing the current and future foot and bike traffic along public roadways, and providing an option that allows this usage along a more secure route.

First off, our thanks to the district in pursuing this project, a sentiment several attendees shared at last week’s meeting. The benefits of such an offering are obvious: It would promote healthy activities, it would be a place for social interaction, a break from our cluttered work and home lives to observe and be a part of our scenic prairie landscape, and it becomes another amenity that adds to the livability (and marketability) of this community.

Good questions and concerns were raised by attendees last week, primarily of which was how this would impact their properties that would be next to this path: dog issues (barking, off leash, their waste), trash and vandalism. Another concern was maintenance and the responsibility for those ongoing costs, and then there is the general concern of introducing people traffic into areas where folks went to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Honest concerns, and ones the district is going to have to work with in finding compromises and/or alternatives to see this proposal advance to the next stage of seeking grant funding. If each side can assume good intentions by the other, those discussions should result in solutions and a better plan.

Right now, we should encourage the district in continuing to explore this proposal further with landowners and in finding additional partners who can contribute toward this idea. It should promote continued public conversation and education so the community is better aware, so more people take ownership in this project’s development, and so we have thoroughly hashed out its merits for them to make an informed decision.

Regardless of the outcome, the work on and discussion of this project has provided a side benefit of awakening the conversation on the value of public amenities – parks, pools, public squares, kiosks -- to the overall enjoyment, livability and social prosperity of a community.

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