Mayor Antonio Blue reported the status of two significant civic projects.
A new addition to the Town Hall is 75 percent complete, and Blue estimates that it will be finished by April 15.
Approximately 75 percent of the houses in Dobbins Heights have been connected to the sewer system. The most current work is on Daniel Street from the corner of Goodwin Street up to Bethel Church Road. The town will be pursuing funds to complete the project. Channie McManus Drive is next in line after the completion of Daniel.
According to Blue, he and Town Clerk Mary Magee will be applying for grants through two programs that they learned about during a recent meeting in Raleigh: The Economic Infrastructure Program and the Clean Water Infrastructure Program.
On a national level, Blue will be going to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for a legislative summit with the National Conference of Black Mayors.
In her report on the town’s streetscapes, Mayor Pro Tem Gracie Jackson stressed ways that locals take pride in their town by pitching in and cleaning up in time for Spring. An announcement passed out that night by Jackson and Magee, which was endorsed by the Mayor, members of the council and other community figures made three points:
“Let’s join together and clean out little neighborhood. Let’s decorate and make it beautiful, with flowers for Spring and Summer. Let’s move all basketball goals to the back yard and make outdoor play safe for children. Please do not allow your child to play basketball in the streets.”
To address the issue of making Dobbins Heights more beautiful, Jackson has organized neighborhood clean-up projects for April 3 at 10 a.m. As far as the basketball goals go, Jackson urged parents to take responsibility for the safety of their children. Many of the basketball goals can be seen day or night on the streets of Dobbins Heights because a paved street is a logical (but dangerous) trade-up from off-street dirt, gravel or grass.
Council member Angeline David said she would post sign-up sheets for a softball team this Spring.
David encouraged parents to bring or send well-behaved children to this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, which will be held April 13 at 11a.m. in the Community Park.
According to Jackson, the town plans to provide eggs, chips, drinks, and hot dogs as well as raffle prizes for the children. This all depends upon donations received from the community and beyond. They will need volunteers to hide eggs as well.
Jackson is also in the process of organizing an agenda for the Dobbins Heights 25th anniversary celebration, which is slated for later this summer. She and some fellow citizens will be putting their thoughts together in a meeting at Town Hall on March 20.
“I think it’s wonderful that many of us who were associated with the organization from the beginning are still here,” said Jackson.
Jackson and Magee were nominated by council member Curtis Ratliff and approved by the council as the GoldenLEAF steering committee designees for Dobbins Heights.
Thursday night was Ratliff’s first council meeting since December, having recently recovered from prolonged illness.
At the end of the night, a citizen, Fred Brizendine of Winona Avenue, brought some major concerns to light. According to him, a mechanic shop on his street is working on large transfer trucks, which enter and exit U.S. Hwy. 177 via Winona Avenue. According to Brizendine, this is both dangerous and damaging his yard.
He said that Earl Franklin Drive (the main street of Dobbins Heights) is designated as a “No-Thru Trucks” area, but what about the little side streets? He said they had no signs to designate that.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Gibson said that there are signs, but the trucks come through anyway. She said they have tried talking to the drivers and the trucking companies, but the trucks keep coming through.
In regards to garage/mechanic shop on Winona, the question was raised as to whether or not the shop was zoned for it and paying taxes as a business. No one was able to affirm or deny. Mayor Blue said that he would meet with the owner of the shop and Brizendine together to hammer out a solution.
“I went to the Patrol station and they told me to approach you Mayor Blue. And you told me before you’d talk to him. You say ‘I’ll talk, I’ll talk’ and then nothing’s been done about it.
“I know he’s got to make a living, but he doesn’t have to do it at the expense of tearing up my property. I’ve worked hard to have what I’ve got and I pay taxes on it just like everybody else.”
Jackson offered for the council to attend the meeting with Blue, Brizendine and the owners of the shop. This will be scheduled for sometime after Mayor Blue returns from Washington D.C.
“I want to be treated as a citizen of Dobbins Heights, not some common dog on the road out there,” said Brizendine.
“Whenever you schedule the meeting, let the whole council know,” said Jackson.
Brizendine also brought up issues with his water, which he said is often “so muddy you can’t even drink it.”
According to Blue, Dobbins Heights buys water from the City of Hamlet. They own no water rights themselves or make any sort of revenue off of water. They actually have to pay more for water than people inside the Hamlet city limits.
“You can’t even drink or bathe in that water sometimes its so filthy looking. I won’t even give it to my animals. And it smells like it came from a wastewater plant.
“The City of Hamlet said its clean water, but by the time it gets to my house its muddy looking.”
Blue said that this happens because Brizendine is at the end of the water line and the water has nowhere to circulate. According to Brizendine, Hamlet has come out to somehow clean up the problem before, but it keeps occurring; and he said he’s not the only one who complains about it.
Jackson suggested anyone with that problem who is not able to buy water boil their water - as she does.
“When I boil my water to make coffee, I make sure and boil enough so that I will have some to drink.”
Blue empathized with Brizendine, but sad there was nothing he could do. That was a matter for the City of Hamlet.
The concerned citizen seemed disheartened .
“They came out here and cleaned it up but then it gets back into the same shape over time. What’s the solution? Buy water - just because my home’s on the end of the line. What’s fair for one is fair for the other.”