Roughly 30 citizens turned out to voice their opinions and ask questions at a town hall meeting held by the Upson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, April 24, at Salem Baptist Church. The meeting was the first in a series the board plans to hold in each of the districts of the county throughout the rest of the year.
The board heard from several citizens on the issues of county roads in need of repair, the possibility of a weather siren being placed in the Logtown community and improvements they would like to see made at the Salem recreation area.
Linda Mann was one of the first to speak to the board and her issue dealt with the poor condition of a portion of Kendall Drive. Mann lives at the end of the dead end street and she told the board the road is paved most of the way, but there is still a portion which is a dirt road. She noted the entire road was originally paved, but due to her house burning down in 2006 she rebuilt further back on the same property, which left the dirt portion of the road. Mann continued, telling the commissioners the T-U county school bus that comes to pick up her grandson gets stuck quite frequently due to the state of the dirt road. Just last week, the bus got stuck one morning and three different trucks were sent to help pull it out to no avail; and it was 10 a.m. before another bus was sent to pick up the stranded students to take them to school. Mann stated this has been going on for years and it is not just the bus that gets stuck; the mailman got stuck last week too.
“The road is in terrible condition, people do not want to come down it because it is just that bad,” said Mann. “The rain has caused a lot of erosion over the years. Perhaps you might not be able to pave the road far enough to my house, but at least put down some gravel, that is all I ask.”
Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder told the rest of the board he had gone out to check on the issue and agreed that it is in terrible shape. After speaking with Road Superintendent James Melton, he believes the paving ends where the county property ends, but feels if the county bus goes further past the property line, then the county should fix it.
“I would love to see the county pave it, but if we can’t do that then we should go put some gravel down so the bus can at least turn around,” said Wilder.
Another road that was brought up for having issues is Allen Road. Ernest Wilder asked the commissioners when they were going to fix the drainage issue on the road which is causing eroding of the shoulder. Commissioner Wilder stated he had spoken with the road department and a six foot, 48 inch sewer pipe needs to be installed to rectify the situation. Wilder said he understood the problems that could be caused by the issue, noting if someone ran off the road, a wreck would be nearly unavoidable. The pipe has been ordered and should be installed sometime this summer as weather permits.
Chairman Rusty Blackston told the crowd paving season will begin soon and there are several roads on the list for this year. Three of the main ones are Rocky Bottom Road, Del Ray Road to Piedmont and Triune Mill Road from the city limits to Winsweep Farm Road. One citizen asked if the county was going to pave the rest of Triune Mill Road, noting the road is in worse condition going in the opposite direction. Blackston stated that is not currently in the plan for this year, but may be looked into at a later time.
The question of a weather siren for the Logtown area was brought up by Terry Hollis, who wanted to know why the community was left off the list when choosing the locations for additional sirens.
“I understand there was a grant given to the county for us to put in some additional sirens,” said Hollis. “A couple of years ago we asked for one in the Logtown area and I just want to know why we were left out?”
EMA Director Martha Anne McCarty was present at the meeting and stated Logtown was not selected because it is more sparsely populated than other areas in the county.
“We looked for places within the county that had dense populations that were currently not being served by sirens… Everywhere we tried to put one is where we have identified such things as trailer parks and recreation areas. All of our choices were based specifically on population. We did not ignore Logtown, it has a group of people there, but it is more sparsely populated,” said McCarty.
She noted the coverage area for a siren is three quarters of a mile to a one mile radius and they had to put the sirens where the most people were located. McCarty also noted the county may be able to apply for another grant to start phase two of the project and Logtown would be looked at again to see if it would be a good location for one.
Throughout the meeting, several citizens also voiced their opinions to the board on the matter of improvements at the Salem recreation area. One lady asked that the board consider putting up lights for the basketball court so citizens would be able to play at night. She stated they are currently using car lights to illuminate the court and having proper lighting would allow for those who work during the day to be able to use the court at night. Other improvements the board was asked to consider were a walking track and a roll-down curtain for the pavilion which would still allow it to be useable in rainy or cooler weather.
The board thanked everyone for coming out to the town hall and encouraged citizens to voice their opinions and ideas. Commissioner Ralph Ellington noted that citizens should not be afraid to share any ideas they have about what is going on in their community and how to improve it with the board.
“We cherish and want your input. I’ve said this at basically every commissioners meeting, get involved in your community and get involved in your county. Some of the best ideas that I have ever come across have come from the oddest places. You may think your idea is off the wall, but it may be one of the best things to come along.”
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1