"I think anytime you ask someone to impose an easement on a property ... it has an effect on them.
"The church has been a little more reluctant to grant a permanent right," Lane said. "In fairness to them, they don't know what they might do with the property in the future."
The church has the option to cancel the lease, he said. "Once we establish the trail, we don't feel there ever will be a problem."
Payne has also been working with the owners of Victorian Arms apartments, next door to Woodnor, for access through their property, and with Bobbi Skaff, who owns a home beside the church property.
Victorian Arms owner Robert Allen will be in Charleston in a few weeks, Payne said. "He wants to work with the city. He's got concerns -- parking." He's hopeful a deal can be worked out. "I feel good about that."
Once the access issues are solved, Payne is anxious to start work on the trail.
"I got a bid from a contractor to do some work. He'd clear some fallen trees on the path, do some hand work, build two bridges and put in some piping for culvert."
There would be two small parking areas on Loudon Heights Road for access, he said, one at the bottom near Olson Road another at the upper end of the property.
As with all Land Trust projects, money is in short supply.
"We don't have a budget," Lane said. "We have not committed to spending any money. All of the easements were obtained at no cost."
Volunteers could help, Payne said. "We'd like to get an Eagle Scout involved, a garden club. Briar Hills Garden Club actually gave us a $5,000 grant a couple years ago but we couldn't spend it before the deadline ran out."
Unlike, say, the Carriage Trail, Payne sees this as a more local sort of destination.
"I call it a neighborhood trail for recreation. This part of South Hills is pretty difficult. There are no berms [along the roads]. You're taking your life in your hands.
"I hope the apartment owners would cherish it. They could market it as an amenity.
"From the city's perspective, I'm sure they're anxious just to follow through with the gift the Chiltons gave, the vision they had. They could easily have built houses here."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.