Advisory board fields complaints, demands

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cape Girardeau County Road and Bridge Advisory Board members were peppered with complaints, demands and questions before they even had a chance to explain the board's function at the Delta Community Center on Saturday.

About 40 residents attended the meeting, the first of four scheduled countywide to inform residents of the board's function and plans for improving roads.

Flooding, easements, eminent domain and dust control were brought up by frustrated residents who said the county has not done enough in the past to help them.

Bob Johnson, who lives north of Delta on County Road 244, said every time it rains there is flooding there.

"We have a serious water problem here," he said.

Board vice chairman Ken Evans, board member for Apple Creek Township, explained that the meeting was to gather residents' concerns about road issues to form a proposal the board will recommend to commissioners.

The board was appointed in October and includes a member from each of the county's 10 townships and one at-large member. County highway administrator Scott Bechtold is a nonvoting member of the board. All were present at Saturday's forum. County commissioners Larry Bock and Jay Purcell attended Saturday's meeting but did not speak directly to the crowd.

Evans said since the board's formation, members have been gathering information on the status of various road projects, creating a priority list for hard pavement of roads and to come up with a plan to propose to commissioners.

Larry Payne, board member for Randol Township and board chairman, said the board plans to have a proposal ready by June 11.

Meanwhile, some projects have already been approved by commissioners for repaving or chip-and-seal paving methods on test roads that could help control dust.

Several attendees brought up concerns about eminent domain, saying there may be one or two holdouts in the petition process.

Evans referred those questions to Robb McClary, assistant to the county commissioners. McClary works as a liaison between the highway department, commissioners and the advisory board and can help residents work together to get their road paved.

The other meetings will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Daisy Coonhunter's Lodge off Route B; at 7 p.m. April 25 at the Fruitland Sale Barn on U.S. 61; and at 7 p.m. April 26 at the Burfordville Baptist Church.

335-6611, extension 127

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