Riley residents sue federal government over Riley Spur trail

25 Vigo County residents are suing the federal government over a trail that they say violated their rights.

Posted: Aug 17, 2021 6:21 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - 25 Vigo County residents are suing the federal government over a trail that they say violated their rights.

News 10 first told you about this story last week.

Now, homeowners are taking action. Two lawsuits are surrounding this issue.

News 10 first told you last week about a railroad easement known as the Riley Spur. Residents say they are suing the government for taking their property without compensation.

They say a public trail this close to their homes makes them feel unsafe. For the plaintiffs in this federal lawsuit, it is of utmost importance.

LINK | Two federal lawsuits are taking place in Vigo County - here's what they are about

Joe McKee is a property owner along the Riley Spur.

He says he is suing because he feels he has lost his sense of privacy.

"I can sit at my kitchen table and be able to watch people go through my yard," said McKee.

With two young children at home, Mckee says he is worried about letting them play in their backyard next to the soon-to-be-trail.

"You don't know what kind of people's out there nowadays, I mean, it's, it's bad," said McKee.

The trail would run down the old abandoned railroad tracks.

The right of way would extend 25 feet on each side from the center of the track.

That would put people's walking path, in the range of yards and buildings of property owners.

Right now crews are working on getting construction underway.

Some landowners say they are not trying to stop construction, but are looking for compensation for the land being used.

"All this whole project has been brought upon us blindsided, and they, the county, won't give their opinions, as far as how they're gonna do anything," said Bill Jarrett, a Riley resident and a plaintiff in this case.

Jarrett says there's too much uncertainty for him to feel comfortable.

"The trail where everybody's gonna be supposedly walkin', now how many people? I don't know. And what time of day? It's all up in the air," said Jarrett.

The situation has caused McKee so much frustration, he is planning on moving to a different home.

"It's time to move on, and hopefully, hopefully, we can sell the house," said McKee.

Mckee told News 10 it is not about the money for him as it relates to the lawsuit, but to ensure a safe neighborhood for his family.

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