BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FRUIT HEIGHTS — Safety and security along a proposed trail north of Nicholls Road got a closer look on Tuesday, with input from law enforcement officials and neighbors bordering the route.
Not everyone is comfortable with the proposed improvements.
Some participating in the open house brought up concerns about introducing more people to the quiet area.
Others speaking before the council expressed appreciation to the trail committee for taking steps to mitigate their concerns.
In a presentation at the city council meeting, Steve Petty, committee chair, outlined a number of steps recommended to ensure safety.
The steps include adding security cameras and trail lighting and establishing emergency call boxes.
The proposed eight-foot path would allow for emergency vehicles from multiple access points, he said, and the increased presence of community members and the proximity of Kaysville residents bordering the trail would also help with security.
“More sets of eyes deny privacy to people trying to do illegal or dangerous things,” said Petty.
During the open house that preceded the meeting, one neighbor whose property borders the trail called the trail development “an invasion.”
“It would take away our privacy and endanger us,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. “It’s opening a can of worms. It’s inviting druggies, alcoholics and vandalism. I’m terrified.”
Fruit Heights contracts with the Davis County Sheriff for primary enforcement, and Sheriff Todd Richardson addressed the city council about the potential impact of clearing and widening the trail.
“I’ve worked here for over 15 years ... there have been problems in that area for 15 years,” he said.
The improvements have the potential to alleviate those problems, he said, and would “help our ability to patrol that area and give us access to the full extent of the area.”
Vehicles would only enter in the case of emergency, and regular patrols would be on foot or bike, he said.
Video monitoring is important, he added.
“We had some pretty significant events at (Castle Heights Park) but when we put cameras in, everything came to a halt,” he said.
Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg also addressed the council, saying he could see both sides.
The project is an admirable project for developing a sense of community, he said, but patrolling trails takes additional resources.
“Certainly I think there is going to be a need for some sort of a presence there as far as law enforcement goes,” said Oberg.
While he pledged the support of Kaysville’s police department in the case of emergency, Kaysville could not provide routine services outside its jurisdiction.
The Rail Trail through Kaysville has created some challenges and resulted in a “fair drain on resources,” Oberg said. He said it has been difficult to educate people about when it’s safe to run and when it is not.
Doug Brunnette thanked the city’s trails committee for moving one segment of the path farther south, for considering planting trees as privacy shields and for accommodating other concerns.
The main trail as now proposed would be eight feet wide, covered with bark mulch, and open to walkers, runners and families pushing strollers. Dogs on a leash would be welcome unless they become a problem, said Petty. Several smaller trails are eventually planned to branch out from the main trail.
Organizers are planning to involve volunteers to clear the trail. Richardson said some county inmates may be assigned to the project as well.