Orange Co. trail expansion could be in limbo without OUC compromise

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County leaders have approved a plan to expand the county's trail system, but the effort could be hampered if a compromise is not reached with Orlando Utilities Commission.

Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer said eight proposed trails are in limbo unless the county can reach agreements with utility companies like OUC.

"These rights of way are huge, open areas with these high-powered lines going over them, and the land sits and is not used," Brummer said.

OUC has declared land with its lines off-limits for now, because it said adding a trail on the ground could interfere with power line maintenance.

Tim Trudell of OUC said there are a lot of liability factors.

"We've got to look at all of those very important points before we move forward in this," Trudell said.

Brice Jyurisko, who is training for this Saturday's OUC half-marathon, said he'd like to have access to the proposed trails.

"We're always going to different places, different experience, because you do get bored, and you like to look at different scenery," Jyurisko said.

If there isn't a risk, he said, he'd like to see people have access to the course.

Some of the proposed trails would need agreements from Progress Energy, but county leaders said the company has cooperated in the past.

OUC said it is working with Parks and Recreation officials to try to strike a compromise.