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Issue resolved: City ditches proposed fences
Residents from Bradwell Street Extension and Kings Road sign-up to be members of a task force to create permanent solutions to problems in the Kings Road/Bradwell Street Extension neighborhood. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington
As residents from Bradwell Street Extension and Kings Road settled into the Hinesville City Hall meeting room this past week to discuss the possibility of constructing fences at the ends of both streets, Councilman Steve Troha immediately made an announcement.
“There is going to be no fence,” he said to the standing-room-only crowd, which was followed by applause from homeowners. “That issue has been resolved.”
The town hall meeting between the councilman and residents came on the heels of Troha’s recent decision to comply with an appeal from a group of homeowners to have long-standing foot bridges at the ends of Kings Road and Bradwell Street Extension removed.
Residents complained the crossings were responsible for an increase in crime in the neighborhood and represented a safety hazard for children walking to school as cars from other neighborhoods sped to drop other children off at the bridges.
Before asking the city to remove the crossings, however, Troha said he misjudged the necessity of discussing the matter with a larger portion of homeowners. Residents who were unaware the bridges would be removed became enraged when they woke up to find them no longer in place.
Fingers had been pointed at a number of Hinesville city officials by angry homeowners, but the councilman said there was only one person to fault for the situation.
“I may have made a hasty judgment and I’ll take full responsibility and full credit,” Troha said. “It was not Mr. Edwards. It was not OMI. It was me.”
But while a majority of attendees were happy to hear fences would not be erected, there still remained the issue of whether the bridges would be replaced in time for the start of school.
“While I don’t live in that neighborhood, most of my grandchildren do and for years my grandchildren have used that bridge to cross back and forth to school,” grandmother Martha Kitchings said in her appeal to have the crossings replaced. “And I will tell you as a grandmother who’s called in to transport children on quick notice frequently, that bridge has been a life saver for me.”
But Kings Road homeowner Angela Powell said traffic jams created by drivers dropping off and picking up children at the crossing by her house have become an inconvenience.
“There have been incidents where I’ve come home during the time that (parents) are picking up children and they’re in my driveway and will not move. I have been told to wait and that’s my driveway,” she said. “I have a ‘No parking’ sign. I have two and everyone still parks there.”
For more than an hour, the neighbors discussed the pros and cons of having the bridges in place, including easy access to Joseph Martin Elementary School and Snelson-Golden Middle School, but an increase in juvenile delinquency in the area — before Troha offered a “temporary solution.”
“We all know school’s going to start on Monday. We can get the city to put back the bridge by Mrs. (Becky) Carter’s house pretty easily and I think we can remedy the crossing at King’s Road,” he said. “But I still think the discussion needs to be permanent, long-term.”
The councilman suggested creating a task force consisting of homeowners, city officials and school board members to develop an amicable neighborhood plan for dealing with the tougher issues within the community and most homeowners agreed.
As residents signed up for the task force, the Bradwell Street Extension homeowner who first shed light on the mishandling of the decision to remove the crossings expressed joy over the structures being replaced.
“We did it,” Connie Klein said. “We got our victory.”
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