Asking that Giona Town Road be closed, Nolan Street resident Bobbie Short attended a meeting of the Evarts City Council on Tuesday.
Citing ATVs, drug dealers and people dumping trash in the area as reasons for her request, Short said the street had been closed off in the past for a number of years.
“This road had been closed for 20 some years,” said Short. “It was recently reopened and now I’m having a lot of problems. Someone has made a four-wheeler trail through there that goes to a trash dump. It’s about 10 to 15 feet from my house. There are a lot of problems going on up there. The road needs to be either open or closed and I’d like to see it closed. The drug addicts use it, the drug sellers and the thieves walk around during the day spotting things they want to pick up…”
Mayor Eddie Manning said the city had reopened the road recently because it is a city street and Short had placed a fence across it and residents can’t, by law, block off a city street. He said it was his understanding that during the previous administration the road was blocked off because of illegal dumping in the area.
Short’s daughter, Linda Glisson, then asked the council to prove the city owned the street.
“The city owns that street,” said city attorney Otis Doan. “If you think you own this street, and you can prove it, go down to the courthouse, file suit against the city and we’ll answer it.”
“I’ve lived up there for the past 40 years and it’s never bothered me one way or the other who owned the road,” said Short. “But since it had been closed for 20 years and no one using it then all of a sudden four-wheelers start buzzing up through there, harassing and threatening my family, I thought it needs to be either open or closed. I thought for my own well being I would like for you all to put a fence across it.”
Short said the street “only leads to the river and a trash dump.”
“I’m not in good health and I’d just like some peace up there,” said Short. “That road is bad business. I’m just here to ask you all sweetly and nicely for my peace of mind would you all go up there and close that road. That’s all I want and all I’m asking. I don’t want that road, got no use for it. I don’t want a quarrel with anyone. I vote, pay my taxes, pay my bills and don’t ask for anything or bother anybody. I think I deserve some peace of mind.”
City police officer William Clogston told Short to call the police when she observes drug addicts, dealers or illegal dumping in the area.
“It doesn’t make a difference how many times a day or night you call. It’s our job to come and check these things out and we will,” said Clogston.
After a lengthy discussion, Doan said in order to close a roadway you have to have everyone who lives on the street to agree the road needs to be closed and then there is a legal process that has to be taken to close the street.
Manning and Doan agreed to travel to the area and contact other home owners on the street to get their feelings on the matter. The issue was tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the council in September.
“Let me say this, if the road remains open or closed, our position is it still belongs to the city,” said Doan. “This is a city street. We can under circumstances close a city street, but that doesn’t mean we are abandoning it or transferring ownership.”
In other action:
• Manning told council members parking spaces are now being painted on city streets and the city’s Pre-School Playground Park has been expanded through two donations received and the tourist commission;
• Clogston reported the police department is participating in the “Project Child Save” program and will be holding a class for children in the near future.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde