While Columbia County charges ahead, some areas are being left behind. The popular shortcut Oakley-Pirkle Road is one of these areas falling to the rear in county improvements. The street is lined with drainage ditches that are long past in need of covering.
The ugly earthen gash travels past several subdivisions and presents an unsightly, negative introduction to these communities. Not only do they provide a less-than-appealing view of the residents, the ditches are unhealthy and unsafe places for the children and adults living near them. (They are) essentially small drainage creeks; all manner of dangerous vermin, insects and reptiles exist. This may be a desirable quality for a wildlife habitat, but the ditches present the perception to a potential buyer the local residents are less than caring of their property no matter how well maintained the property beyond.
Some residents take it upon themselves to clean the ditches, which run many feet deep. This depth is sufficient to cause injury to any child who might accidentally fall in the rock-bottomed ditches from the less-than-well-constructed sidewalk. Erosion of the ditch wall has already caused the replacement of sidewalk sections and will require more in the future. This does not include whatever injury to people in automobiles that happened to run off the road. The ditches are moats that prevent large emergency vehicles from getting close to the residences.
The county has constructed a bicycle and running path over covered ditches in one of the most affluent sections of the county but has ignored the ditches of Oakley-Pirkle Road. Covering the ditches would improve the appearance of the accesses to multiple subdivisions, ensure the health and safety of the children who use the sidewalk to Westmont School, improve property values and provide space for safe and pleasurable walking and biking. If property taxes are going to continue to climb, the residents should see some tangible benefit and a bike path in some other part of the county will not suffice.
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