09/27/06 — Residents complain about drainage, mosquitoes

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Residents complain about drainage, mosquitoes

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 27, 2006 1:52 PM

The speaker system was on the blink and the traffic running up and down Ash Street was noisy, but that didn't stop residents of the Meadow Lane and Oak Forest neighborhoods from voicing their concerns at Goldsboro City Council's fourth community meeting this year.

Worried mostly about mosquitos and drainage, several took advantage of a bullhorn that was made available and stood in front of the 30 or so people gathered on the front lawn of Meadow Lane Elementary School Tuesday. Others decided to try to talk over the traffic, or simply corner the necessary city official.

Whatever their methods, residents seemed to get their points across, many of which were just what city officials expected.

"It was a good turnout, pretty average. It was pretty much what we expected, but it's good to hear specifics so that we can take specific action," City Manager Joe Huffman said.

A self-described older and quieter community, many of the residents said they are pleased with the overall job the city is doing.

"We don't have a lot of problems in our area. Our problems are minor compared to the rest of the city," said Fred Shadding of 102 DeLuca Road. "It's like an old country neighborhood really. We all look out for each other."

Oak Forest Road neighbor Don Ardner agreed.

"I don't really have a lot to gripe about," he said.

But he did have one common complaint -- drainage.

In his case, the problem was around the intersection of DeLuca and Acorn roads. Other residents voiced concerns about other sections of DeLuca and Oak Forest roads, many around their own homes.

"The people charged with observing (the drainage) don't come out at the right times," said George Warren of 200 DeLuca Road -- to much applause. "They come when the sun's out. They need to come during the storm and see the water pooling."

The other major concerns, related directly to the drainage problems, were mosquitos and the recent discovery of the West Nile Virus next door at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"I can't open my door without them coming in," Shadding said of the mosquitoes.

Ed Cianfarra, chief building inspector, sympathized with his complaint, but said the city is doing all it can to control the problem.

Already, the city has two trucks spraying the city twice a day, five hours at a time -- one working north of Ash Street, one working south.

"The problem is the way the city is spread out. It takes about seven days to cover it. We're trying to do a better job now that we have West Nile confirmed on base, but I want to stress that's only in mosquitoes. It's not in humans.

"It's an impossible task to treat all the mosquitoes but we are trying."

In addition to the spraying, Cianfarra said city employees are placing mosquito-preventing pellets wherever they see standing water, particularly in drainage ditches.

But he implored residents to help them control the problem.

"I need help and that help is, if you can take care of your standing water, I'll take care of the ditches," he said. "But we can catch only the ones we see, so we need you to notify us."

And, while it wasn't raised as loudly as some might have predicted, several residents did voice concerns about the traffic running between Greenwood Middle School and Meadow Lane Elementary School -- much of it stemming from the 2005 accident in which two students were severely injured.

Although pleased with the safety measures taken since the accident, Ash Street resident Chris Cowan did ask that a police officer or base security officer be stationed between the schools during the drop-off and pick-up hours to help discourage speeders.

"I remember those two young gentlemen who were hit by the car," he said. "As a parent who has a son going to Greenwood, I don't want anybody else to get hit.

"The idea is to slow them down."

That, too, was an idea that received much applause.

In the end, only about 10 people spoke to the crowd, but afterward, many more took the opportunity to speak to their councilman, Bob Waller.

"I'm glad they came out and expressed their concerns and problems," he said. "We will follow up and our folks will be out checking on some of their situations."

The next neighborhood meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Leslie and Beech streets area. No specific location has been determined.