Oliver: Taft Road too dangerous to drive

Posted 5/23/20

PARRISH — Mayor La'Tisha Oliver said Tuesday the city is having issues with people moving barrades on Taft Road, which poses a danger to themselves. 

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Oliver: Taft Road too dangerous to drive


PARRISH — Mayor La'Tisha Oliver said Tuesday the town is having issues with people moving barricades on Taft Road, which poses a danger to themselves. 

She spoke to the Parrish Town Council, which met Tuesday for the first time since March in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. Social distancing was observed, with the council spread across the room. Everyone attending was required to wear masks. No work session was held before the formal meeting. 

Two council members, Roslyn Bankhead and Kathryn Thomas,  were absent, which led Oliver to postpone action on filling a seat being vacated on the local water board. A called meeting will likely be held to interview candidates. 

Oliver said again that contractor Robertson Excavating Co., which has been working on completing the city's $300,000 Community Development Block Grant to repair a number of roads, has agreed to repair a washout on Taft Road, resulting from the April 12 storms. 

County Engineer Mike Short conferred with her that day about what piping to use, she said.

Robertson is to tackle the work on Taft Road when it completes the road grant work. A notice of completion still needs to run in the Daily Mountain Eagle for the work to be considered completed, Oliver said.  

Council members discussed putting dirt on the road to prevent people traveling on Taft. "That might be the only way to keep people off that road," Oliver said, noting neighbors in the area have been taking photos of the vehicles coming through - including one vehicle belonging to a national delivery service. 

"Ample warning - that road is closed," she said. "If you drive on that road, and you fall in, the town is not responsible." A gas line, which could be hit by a vehicle, is also in that area. 

"Somebody is going to get hurt," she said. "The road is barely hanging together. If it rains again, the rest of it is gone." Worse, the barrier could be moved and an unsuspecting driver could come later and be injured. 

Oliver noted that the Daily Mountain Eagle reported last month that the road was closed. Regular police patrols are being made in the area.

The mayor said many people have thanked her for the work they have seen from the grant project. She said she always gives credit for the work to the council and former Mayor Heather Hall, adding the roads do look better.

"Once all that is over, the stuff goes in the paper and it is done and complete, we are going to apply for another grant," she said, noting some ideas are already being discussed by officials. 

The mayor also reported a bridge on Stanfield Road washed away the day of the Easter storms. County crews helped so that people were able to cross it again, she said.

Oliver going strictly by COVID-19 guidelines

Oliver, who has a compromised immune system and is considered at-risk for the coronavirus, noted she is taking a hard, slow approach to accessibility to municipal facilities in order to combat the virus. Noting that one person in the county had died from the virus that week, she indicated she is taking the matter seriously and doesn't want other people to be sick. 

For example, she said she has not opened the splash pad.

"If it were just up to me, I would not open it," she said, pointing to the COVID-19 virus. "There is no cure for this. There is no vaccine for it. I do not want to subject people to situations where they get sick or dead. I just have a lot of misgivings opening up." Councilman William Smith said it would be difficult to keep children 6 feet apart.

She noted to come to Parrish City Hall, one has to make an appointment and wear a face covering of some type. "If you do not have a face covering, you will not be allowed in City Hall - period," she said. A drop box is placed outside where people can leave payments. Oliver said she also does not plan to open up the senior center, except to allow  residents to pick up their meals or to have people deliver to others. 

Oliver also turned down a rental for a party at the old gym, saying any event there would be up to 10 people and people would have to social distance and have face covering. 

The mayor reported that municipal court has not been held since February but plans to reopen. With the coronavirus in mind, court would likely have 10 people come in at a time, with the rest waiting in their vehicle. 

Several on the council or in attendance indicated Oliver was doing the right thing. 

In other action, Oliver told the council a payment of $10,000 was to be mailed the next day to Republic, the city's contracted garbage service. The city has been catching up payments to the business.