Sometimes I think it would be great if we got to know our neighbors better, and sometimes I’m just as glad that we don’t know them all that well. Last night was a case in point. A neighborhood meeting was held to discuss the county’s plan for flood abatement. There were more people here than at any of the previous meetings, and most of these folks were none too happy.
The plan calls for the removal of the bridge on Hermitage Street over Brushy Creek and the creation of cul-du-sacs on Hermitage and Lake Fairfield Drive. Houses currently in the flood plain would be purchased and removed. The entire area would be graded, reseeded, and turned into a natural area with a boardwalk and pedestrian bridge across the creek. From my high-and-dry standpoint, it sounds great! We trade the convenience of a short cut to Edwards Road for a new park and less through-traffic.
Not all of our neighbors think that way, though. There were concerns about splitting the neighborhood. Residents questioned how their kids would now get to the swimming pool or to the elementary school, and those on the likely new routes questioned the amount of traffic that would now be routed onto their streets. It was surprising to all (myself included) that a traffic study had not been done by the county before recommending this plan. Even though I support the plan, it just seems prudent.
Some people were obviously upset. Most of these were the ones who had not paid attention to the meetings all along. It never ceases to amaze me some of the totally stupid remarks people make when they let emotions get in the way. One woman let per paranoias of West Nile virus run rampant, and wanted to know what the county planned to do about "birds migrating that don’t belong in the area." Obviously she’s not one who cares much about wildlife. One pompous jerk sitting behind me stood up and demanded that we take a straw vote regarding removal of the bridge. Since it carried no weight I voted against him just because he was a jerk and thought everyone ought to agree with him. Comment sheets had been handed out, and the constant refrain from the leaders was, "Put that in your comments."
What it boiled down to was the fact that these folks were more concerned about their convenience than the fact that the people at the end of our street have been suffering from the flooding situation. I think it’s pretty much a done deal, and by August construction should begin, and is expected to last until December. Our new cul-du-sac should look about as it is pictured below: