By Karen Daniels
The parking lot for the City of Meadow’s December City Council meeting was completely full and the overflow lot was pushing it’s parameters. Inside, the room was packed as groups of people chatted about the agenda item they were there to discuss: the change to the South Kirkwood project.
“Consideration of and action on an ordinance instruction, authorizing, and allowing the Mayor and involved City Officials to change the South Kirkwood project, control section job: 975. from the currently listed and proposed 2 description lane roadway with roundabouts to the description: 4-Lane boulevard with traffic controls that are to be determined in the future will reduce vehicle emissions, reduce traffic delays, and increase traffic throughput for the roadway.”
Immediately after Mayor Jessup read the agenda item, two Aldermen, John Isbell and Terry Henley, made it clear that this item should be tabled. “The City does not have the money to pay for this,” John Isbell said about rebuilding South Kirkwood at this time. He feels vehicle speeds will increase if the stops signs are removed and roundabouts are replaced. He also warned about safety concerns. The discussions grew heated between the board members and the audience. Council members were divisive on the matter, but the residents who spoke were united. One by one they made their way to the podium asking that the project be tabled at this time.
It was explained that the engineering study would determine what was best for traffic flow and if traffic lights would be used. Currently 12,000 cars a day travel on South Kirkwood. Additional concerns about property values decreasing, emergency services having maneuvering difficulty, and the safety of the children, were addressed to Council. Prior to the vote, Mayor Jessup joined in agreement with the audience and urged Council to table this vote for now. “Funding is up in the air right now.” Money may be coming to the City of Meadows Place from TIP, and the Mayor mentioned the possibility of using those funds for the project, but at this time felt it was best to wait.
The vote passed three to two, to a disappointed audience. As residents gathered outside to discuss what had transpired, the next election and the possibility of change, was a recurring subject.