The Scioto County Commissioners voted Tuesday to deny a request to vacate Old River Road in West Portsmouth.
A petition was filed with the commissioners seeing to vacate Old River Road. As apart of the process the commissioners held a viewing and public hearing about the proposal.
The road is located where Carey’s Run crosses U.S. Route 52 there is an old road called the Old River Road. The road is surrounded by farm land. The road leads down to the last canal lock on the Ohio Erie Canal, lock number 55. The end of a 309 mile canal that started in Cleveland and ended on the bank of the Ohio River near Portsmouth.
At the public hearing several members of the community expressed feelings for and against the proposal for various reasons.
Members of the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail and others organized an effort to urge the commissioners not to vacate, for historic reasons.
Once the viewing and public hearing was held the commissioners were on a time frame to make a decision. Once the commissioners looked deeper into the possible vacation the Ohio Department of Transportation owns a portion of the property because a portion of the Erie Canal is connected to the road.
“Just to make something clear, there’s still some issues with this (vacating Old River Road), I don’t know if it’s ever been determined who exactly owns that roadway. At one time it was a U.S. (United States) route and to my knowledge there is no evidence of a transfer between the federal government and the state. There is a record of a transfer from the state to the county,” Crabtree said.
The record of the road being transferred from state ownership to county ownership dates back to the 1800’s.
Crabtree said since the commissioners received the petition to vacate Old River Road, he has received over 1,000 emails with the majority from people opposed to the vacation.
“There are to many issues at this time, for us to even consider it (vacating Old River Road),” Crabtree said.
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said he has received 101 emails against the vacation and three in favor of the vacation.
Davis said some people against the vacation feared loosing access to the historic roadway, for the potential possibility of it being used as a historical site.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter.