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Potholes take over Klondike

By Staff | Jul 23, 2014

The very rough state of this portion of Klondike Avenue was brought up to Sistersville City Council during their meeting July 14. The city says the roadway is on private property, owned by CSX, and therefore they cannot justify spending the money to fix it.

Tina McDonald brought a complaint about the condition of the northern portion of Klondike Avenue to Sistersville City Council July 14.

She said the road is in deplorable condition. In fact, it is so bad that mail service to the seven homes on that street, including hers, has been stopped three times, with the United State Postal Service citing that the road was impassable.

McDonald said her vehicle is less than two years old and just hit the 50,000-mile mark. However, “It is already making noises,” something she said a car of that age should not do.

“We’re all for helping out, but our road is just going more and more to ruination,” said McDonald.

In fact, she said one pothole is bigger than her vehicle, a 2012 Jeep Patriot.

“The road is horrible,” stated McDonald who has spent 40 years in Sistersville, recently returning to the area from Harrisville, W.Va.

City Commissioner Daniel Grimes understood her position. “I am very upset with the situation also,” he said.

However, he added that there are a few variables as to why the city hasn’t done anything with the road.

First, the city acquired bids a few years ago for fixing Klondike Avenue. It came in at $200,000.

Further, he said CSX owns that section of roadway. Grimes noted he can’t use $200,000 of the citizens’ money to fix CSX’s property.

The city commissioner said has requested a meeting with a CSX representative. “Ma’am, I am trying to get something resolved,” assured Grimes.

However, he added, “There is not a very positive working relationship with CSX. I don’t want anyone thinking this is negligence on council’s part.”

As for creating access across the railroad track at a gated crossing used by Precision, which would avoid some of the troublesome avenue, Grimes said Precision paid CSX $25,000 for the right to cross there. Further, the agreement included a stipulation that Precision would be the only ones allowed to cross there.

“I think there are a couple other players besides the city that need to step up on the plate,” stated Grimes.

McDonald said that while there are only about seven homes on Klondike Avenue, she said they still matter. “It’s a big difference in our lives when we can’t get through,” she said, citing Precision blocks the street at times for what she deems as lengthy times, over 20 minutes.

“They are not willing to concede anything with us,” said McDonald.

Grimes said his dealings with Precision have been positive and suggested that perhaps the managers don’t realize how frustrated the area’s residents are.

McDonald got emotional a few times during her talk with council, particularly when speaking about her 81-year-old mother and her worries about what would happen if they needed emergency assistance quickly.

In another issue involving streets, council approved the second reading and adoption of a sidewalk ordinance clarification. It will reduce the community fee from $7 to $6. Of that, $5 will go to the street fee and $1 will go to the planning commission. Also, the clarification is to specify that the collected street funds can only be used for street repair and pavement projects; they are not intended for sidewalk maintenance and repairs.

Sidewalks are to be maintained by owners and/or occupants of the properties.

That also relates to a concern brought up Councilman Harold Dally, who said he has noticed a few issues with the development of a new Family Dollar on the old state Route 18, across from Sistersville IGA.

He feels they should continue a sidewalk and tie it into the other sidewalk that runs parallel with old state Route 18. They believe it is their property and they don’t have to put it back in, according to Grimes.

Per the ordinance, property owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing sidewalks. Grimes said that might be an angle the city could check into.

“It would be to their benefit (to continue the sidewalk),” said Grimes, citing it would make it easier for future patrons to access the store.

The councilman also said the storm sewer is too high at the Family Dollar location. Consequently, when rain water runs in front of the store site, the water runs across the street, not in their storm drain.

Dally said he contacted the attorney for Family Dollar, but they never got back to him. Dally will report at next month’s council meeting as to what the property owners want to do.