Tempers flare over road conditions

By ELANE JONES, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/15/16

Two Parrish residents vented their frustration over road problems at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

District 3 council member Heather Hall expressed concerns about the condition of a bridge on Stanfield Road, which led …

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Tempers flare over road conditions


Two Parrish residents vented their frustration over road problems at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

District 3 council member Heather Hall expressed concerns about the condition of a bridge on Stanfield Road, which led to a heated exchange between Mayor Cedric Ramsey and resident Debra Davis.

“There is a hole in the bridge on Stanfield Road that continues to get wider and wider as the water washes through it,” Hall said. “It is a very narrow bridge and the hole goes all the way through and eventually no one will be able to pass on the bridge.”

Davis added that the grass along the side of the roadway is overgrown as well.

“I have been telling you all (the council) about the problems, and the flooding will be starting again soon and it is not our (the homeowners’) responsibility to fix these issues,” Davis said. “There is one way in and one way out, and it’s horrible to think what would happen to someone if they got really bad sick and the bridge was out or the road was flooded.”

Ramsey said a local contractor was hired to come in to clean out the ditches about five years ago, but it has not been maintained as it should have been since then.

“My point is, is once we clean up the area so the water will flow, then let us, as citizens who live in the area, help maintain on our end as far as keeping it clean,” Ramsey said.

Davis then brought up the problem of overgrown lots and asked why an ordinance could not be passed to address the issue.

Ramsey replied the council is working on a nuisance ordinance.

“But understand this also, we only have two riding lawnmowers and one tractor, which we use to cut the entire town of Parrish with,” Ramsey said. “And all of it stays in the shop from being torn up, because we only have a few machines to try and maintain everything. And we don’t even have a backhoe.”

Ramsey said he wished the town could do more, but it doesn’t have the equipment or money to purchase more equipment.

“I don’t like feeling like you (the mayor) just don’t care, because there are only four or five of us (residents) living down there and we’re meaningless,” Davis said.

The two continued to argue with one another for a few minutes longer before Davis finally left the meeting in anger and frustration.

Ramsey apologized to the council and those in attendance for what had transpired between him and Davis, before carrying on with the meeting.

The council also heard from another Parrish resident, James Odom, regarding issues the residents living on Shady Grove Road are facing.

“I have already talked with a couple of contractors, and they said they would come over there and give me an estimate of what it would cost to fix the road like it is suppose to be fixed,” Odom said. “I’ve already talked to a lawyer and he said we can go to court if something’s not done, and I spoke with the county engineer and he said that end of the road does not belong to the county. He said the county maintains the lower end of road, but the upper end belongs to the town of Parrish.”

Ramsey said the problem regarding Shady Grove Road has been an issue for several years because it has never been resolved whether the county or the town is responsible for maintaining the road.

“That’s the problem, and that is why it hasn’t been fixed,” Ramsey said. “We have met with the county engineer and the district supervisor, and they tried to get us to accept the roads, but we never have because we don’t have the money to maintain roads.”

“So what you’re saying is that I’ve wasted my time coming here tonight?” Odom asked.

District 5 Council member Kathy Thomas said the council was trying to get the roads in Parrish fixed, but it was a frustrating process.

“The road issue is an issue for everyone who lives in the city limits of Parrish, and we’re trying to do everything we can, but it’s hard,” Thomas said. “And I don’t want anyone in Parrish to feel like we have forgotten them or that we just don’t care, because we do.”

In other council business District 1 Council member William Smith also asked the council to approve the closing of an alley located in the town of Parrish’s Block 14 between lots 1-12.

“The homeowners who live in Block 14 came before the council recently and asked us to close the alley,” Smith said. “Jackie and I went out and looked at the situation, and we agree with the citizens the alley needs to be closed.”

Smith then made a motion to close the alley in Block 14, Lots 1-12, which was seconded by Hall and approved by the whole council, including Smith, Hall, Shanklin, Alice McBee, Kathy Thomas and Ramsey.

Ramsey also reminded the citizens who asked for the alley to be closed that the process didn’t stop with the council’s vote on Tuesday night to close the alley.

“Each of the homeowners involved will have to come to town hall and get a copy of the minutes of this council meeting, and have them recorded at the Walker County Probate Judge’s Office,” Ramsey said.

The council also accepted the resignation of Parrish Police Chief Steven Yarbrough and approved the appointment of Chuck Lilley as the acting police chief, until the new administration takes office in November.