LEWISTON — Plans to take an easement to allow work to begin on a riverside athletic trail north of the Veterans Memorial Bridge will wait while the city makes sure its papers are in order.

Councilors were asked Tuesday to take an easement to allow construction of the 2-mile Riverside Greenway to begin this spring. But John and Patricia Schott of Greene, who hold the mortgage on the land, said they were not notified of the deal in time and asked the city to wait.

“I’d ask you to follow the rules and regulations that are required to give me the opportunity to exercise my rights,” Schott said.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the discussion on the item would hold until the City Council’s April 1 meeting.

The proposed path would head north from the river side of Sunnyside Park, hugging the eastern banks of the Androscoggin River. It would continue past Riverside Cemetery and over Jepson Brook, where a small pedestrian bridge would be built.

That path would continue north, under the Veterans Memorial Bridge, until reaching Tall Pines Drive. Three river overlooks would be built into the path between the bridge and the path’s northern end.

City engineer Richard Burnham said the city has obtained easements for property for the entire length of the path, except this portion.

“Eminent domain, from our point of view, is really the last resort,” Burnham said. “We only use it when we can’t go another way.”

Burnham said the city has worked with the owners of the property, the L-A Church of God at 40 Strawberry Ave. Schott said his mortgage on the land is written to keep the church from agreeing to sub-mortgage or easement deals.

Burnham said the city has had two property value appraisals done and would agree to pay Schott $2,500 for the property, but said Schott wanted $10,000.

Schott said the land has been in his family for years and he worries about allowing the path on the property.

“I’ve appreciated that property even when it wasn’t very valuable because of the river,” Schott said. “Now that the river is more of an asset, I’ve become even more protective.”

In other business, councilors voted to get behind efforts to develop a southern bike path between Lewiston and Lisbon along the abandoned Lewiston Lower Rail Line. They voted 7-0 to approve a resolution calling for the development of the rail line that runs along the Androscoggin River from Cedar Street near Lincoln Street all the way to Topsham.

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