Success of the Columbus Fall Line Trace between Columbus State University and Psalmond Road has come with some unexpected complaints along the busy walking and biking trail.
A woman who frequently uses the trail is upset about trash that’s been dumped at the car wash at 3867 Milgen Road. A visit to the location confirmed that stalls formerly used for washing dirt from vehicles are now filled with discarded sofas, chairs, an old tire and even a toilet.
The rear of the car wash backs up to the trail, with all discarded items on the private property visible from the path.
Although the trail is maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department, Rick Jones, director of the Planning Department for the Columbus Consolidated Government, said he hadn’t heard about the solid waste near the trail. “That is the first I have heard of it,” he said Friday.
Until the waste appeared, most problems for the trail were good. People started using the trail before it was completed in 2015, and users have never stopped pounding the 12-foot wide patch of asphalt. The entire trail runs 11 miles from Psalmond Road south to the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge in downtown.
Jones said the trail is very popular. “Yes, absolutely,” he said. “They are wearing that thing out, which is a good thing.”
Activity along the abandoned railroad right-of-way of the Norfolk Southern Railroad is attributed to the area having very few intersections for people on the path. “You go across Milgen Road, but for the most part, it’s pretty secluded,” he said. “It’s wooded behind the neighborhoods, and families feel comfortable riding a bike or walking out there.”
Jones said he thinks the stretch from Burger King north to Psalmond Road is the most popular. “When you think about it, it is well shaded, easy to ride,” he said. “I think everybody feels comfortable about that idea.”
City records show the car wash and the Chevron convenience store nearby are owned by Whatley Oil & Auto Parts Co. A concerned representative at Whatley didn’t want her named used but said the company wasn’t aware of waste on the property. She said the car wash is leased to an operator I couldn’t reach by phone.
Jones said he would send a request to the city’s 311 center and get Special Enforcement to look at the discarded items.
Pat Biegler, director of Public Works, said the city has a number of locations that are used very, very regularly for dumping. “It’s not a good situation,” she said. “If we can find an owner, we can ticket them and issue citations. If not, and it goes on too long, we will get someone in to clean it up.”
It’s good to know that some residents have claimed part ownership of the walking and biking trail and want to keep it the way they found it. If the trash keeps piling up nearby, pieces could end up on the trail. City officials urge residents to dial 311 and report possible problems in their neighborhoods.
If you have seen something that need attention, call me at 706-571-8576.