Council annexes Fleer, accepts street for maintenance
Thomasville City Council passed a pair of motions Monday that pave the way for Fleer Avenue to receive some much-needed attention.
In two separate votes, council unanimously agreed to annex a donated portion of Fleer Avenue and accept the street for maintenance. The city now can repair numerous potholes on the dead-end road in the Fair Grove community before placing Fleer Avenue on a list for scheduled repaving.
"This is the most important step in getting the process underway," City Manager Kelly Craver said. "City staff evaluated the street on a number of occasions and it is riddled with potholes. It has a lot of drainage issues that will be taken of as well. We've discussed these projects at length."
Once winter breaks and a steady supply of asphalt becomes available, Craver said city crews will begin patching potholes as well as adding another drainage ditch. Craver wants to wait until patchwork supplies are readily available because the project is going to disrupt traffic for a period of time.
"We want to be able to get to work and go until we finish," said Craver. "We don't want to go work for a week and not be able to get asphalt for a week. With a process of this nature, we want to be able to go in and stay at it. We could get started by early April."
Once the potholes are patched, the city will rate Fleer Avenue's need for a repave using a grading system that takes into account all the streets in Thomasville. The higher the grade, the higher Fleer Avenue will be placed on the list. Residents sent a letter to the city earlier this year saying they wanted the street repaved in 12 to 18 months, but council could give no such assurances.
"I just want it made very plain to the citizens of Fleer Avenue that if this is taken in by the city and we do accept this street you're not necessarily going to get it paved in 12 to 18 months," Councilwoman Pat Shelton said. "You will get it patched but you won't get it paved necessarily. It will go on the list with all the other streets in Thomasville. It will be assessed and we will get it on the list to be paved but it will not necessarily be done in 12- to 18-month deadline."
Several Fleer Avenue residents spoke during a public hearing before council voted to annex the other half of the street. Beverly Greear said her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, can't ride her new bike on the road because of the massive potholes that are three inches deep in some places. Greear, who works in construction, said the city would be better off putting in a new road than trying to patch what is left.
"The potholes go down to ground level," said Greear. "I know that at this point you would have to saw, cut and patch so much it would cost more to do that than to mill the road down and put new asphalt down. They're going to spend more money and time trying to patch holes that they've already tried and it hasn't worked."
Fleer Avenue resident Gary Forester said he would rather be removed from the city limits after paying double taxes for the past 12 years and not seeing anything done to the street.
"I've paid over $12,000 in taxes in 12 years extra and probably $1,000 in car repairs from hitting those potholes every day," Forester said. "We're going to pay double taxes for 50 years when we can just repair the road. All they're going to do is get $500 worth of asphalt and patch the road. City council is looking at it as 12 to 18 months. The residents of Fleer Avenue are looking at it as 12 years."
Dale Norris, who has lived on Fleer Avenue for 30 years, said residents were forced into annexation and have been waiting on something to get done with their street for more than a decade.
"It's taxation without representation," said Norris. "Anything will work now. The road needs to be tore up and redone. We dodge the potholes every day."
Councilman Scott Styers said he understands that residents are feeling alienated by the city and he hopes Monday's votes will help mend some of the wounds.
"I know you were forcibly annexed and for some people that's hard to swallow," Styers said. "Throughout this whole process, my main concern is that you never again feel like you've been mistreated or lied to again."
Craver said street lights will be installed on Fleer Avenue as part of the project.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or email@example.com.