NEW PARIS — Citizens of the Village of New Paris are concerned with the state of disrepair the village’s streets are in, according to resident Allen Melody.
During a council meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, Melody aired his concerns regarding the village’s streets. His intentions were not just to air his grievances, but to open up a line of communication between council and the citizens.
Prior to the meeting, he reached out on Facebook, asking citizens with concerns to attend the meeting and if they could not, to share their concerns with him. He said he would not voice their opinions, but would share their concerns.
“The reason I chose to speak tonight was to create a productive dialogue, a respectful line of communication that will express the concerns of the citizens of the Village of New Paris regarding the state of the streets and the village,” he said. “I don’t think it is any secret that this discussion has been going on outside of these doors. There has been a lot of complaining, but that is not what I am here to do.”
Melody said citizen concerns included: costs associated with damage to vehicles due to road hazards, having to drive on the wrong side of road to avoid pot holes, imperfections in the road putting motorcyclists in danger, the quality of life in the village diminishing, citizens feeling helpless and like no one is listening to their concerns, visitors not wanting to come to New Paris due to the roads, and citizens feeling like their tax money is not being used appropriately.
Melody had three questions for council citizens wanted him to share:
•What is the plan to repair the state of the streets?
•How much money has been budgeted to make the repairs?
•When will the repairs begin and when will work be completed?
Mayor Rick VanWinkle answered, “Number one, we always address the potholes when the weather changes. It doesn’t do us any good to do it in the winter, while we’re still plowing snow, because we will just pull it out of the ground, which is a waste of cost to the village and the tax payers. Last year we spent thousands and 80 to 78 tons to patch, off the top of my head.”
“Not one citizen came to that stand and said, ‘Thank you, job well done.’ There wasn’t a hole in this town three months ago, it was in real good shape,” Councilman Ralph Dungan said. “Now that winter is here and the holes are back again, which we have no control over, then the complaints start coming and we’re supposed to do something right away. We are doing the best that we can.”
“As you drive down U.S. 40, out there the state roads are in the same conditions, I-70 is in the same condition, our streets are in the same conditions. In the winter time when you have potholes pop up you have to wait until the weather breaks to do anything, otherwise you are just wasting your money, because when the snow plows come out they pull them right out,” Mayor VanWinkle added.
“Yes, when the weather breaks we will fix the potholes in the streets. That will not take place until the weather has broken and we’re not throwing money away to have to do it again.”
Mary Jane Thomas added, “The other problem is the hotmix plants don’t open up right when we want them to. We have to wait, because we can’t get the materials to fix it.”
“Things are in works to make things better for the village, but it does take time,” VanWinkle said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH