Source: Sherman Publications

Trail looking for new mgr.
Orion rep. expected to make cost-savings proposal

by CJ Carnacchio

December 22, 2010

A new manager for the Polly Ann Trail is being sought following the resignation of Troy Farwell last week.

“I love the trail. It’s been a friend,” he said. “It’s just time for me to go.”

The PAT Management Council voted to accept Farwell’s resignation as of Dec. 31.

Part of the reason for his resignation is that Farwell, who was hired as trail manager in 2008, is shifting his focus toward the new business he opened in Oxford called Simple Organics (115 S. Washington St.).

The other reason is he saw the handwriting on the wall that the trail council could decide to cut the manager’s position to save money. “It’s going through some changes,” Farwell told this reporter. “The council’s got to make some major shifts and I’m not so sure it includes me in the future. I was trying to be proactive about it.”

When asked who’s pushing for these changes, Farwell replied, “I guess we’d have to probably talk with the Orion people.”

“The Orion people have been very difficult. I think they’re trying to cut costs,” he said. “They pay the biggest portion of the Polly Ann Trail funds and it seems to me they’re having a difficult time with that.”

Despite the politics of funding, Farwell is proud of what was accomplished during his tenure as trail manager.

“We did a lot of cool things,” he told this reporter. “The trail looks great. We’ve had a lot of community involvement. We started the Adopt-a-Trail program and the Earth Day program. I hope the trail does well. I’ll always be using it and I’ll always be around it and supporting it in whatever way I can.”

Because he agreed to help out during the transition, the trail council voted to retain Farwell’s services under a 30-day contract to be renewed as needed.

Council member Ed Brakefield, who represents Addison Township, appreciated Farwell’s willingness to help out on a temporary basis because he doesn’t want to see the trail “left high and dry without any direction.” The Polly Ann Trail is a 14.2-mile non-motorized path that runs through Addison, Oxford and Orion townships along with the villages of Leonard and Oxford. Funded and maintained by these five communities, the trail is enjoyed by bicyclists, runners, walkers and equestrians.

A three-member committee, consisting of Sue Bellairs, Pauline Blanka and JoAnn Van Tassel, was formed to begin the process of filling the manager vacancy by developing an advertisement and receiving applications.

There might be some changes ahead for the trail manager’s job description based on a “reorganization” proposal that Council Member Alice Young, who represents Orion Township, is working on.

“I think we should all do more and use the manager less, especially till spring,” Young told the council. “It’s just not that necessary to have somebody full-time until spring.”

When asked for specifics about her proposal, Young said she couldn’t say anything at this point beyond that it’s designed to save money.

“I haven’t even started the proposal yet,” she told this reporter. “I can tell you that I will be proposing cost-savings. Whether everybody goes along with what I’m going to propose remains to be seen.”

Young indicated her proposal will involve “revisiting” the trail manager’s duties and hours.

“The whole council is going to have to jump on board or we can’t cut down on the hours of the manager,” she told this reporter. “It’s going to have to be a package deal in order to cut down on expenses.”

Young will pitch her proposal to the trail council at its Jan. 20 meeting at the Oxford Veterans Memorial Civic Center (28 N. Washington St.).