Second St. residents question study

MEEKER — “We all came here to talk about how that area is already overburdened. I’m amazed that this board is considering further development up there,” said David Scherbarth, representing his fellow Second Street residents, during the first Meeker board of trustees meeting for 2009.
As congestion along Sulphur Creek Road increases with additional development, traffic safety and relieving pressure on surrounding streets is on the board’s agenda. But a proposal to extend Second Street from its intersection with Garfield all the way to Market has property owners concerned about the future of their homes.
“Our frustration is, if this were to go through, it’s done on this group’s back. We all paid for our homes, if I wanted to buy a house on the busy street, I could have paid a lot less,” Scherbarth said.
The town has $50,000 in the 2009 budget for feasibility studies, the first of which will determine if making Second Street a “straight shot” from Sulphur to Market is even possible.
According to Mayor Mandi Etheridge, it’s too soon to answer most of the group’s questions. “We are in the very, very infantile stages of any project of any kind for an extension of Second Street. We have no intentions of making decisions for our community in the dark of night or without the input of our constituents.”
Etheridge said the board and staff are conducting the feasibility study in the light of increased traffic from the recreation center, new apartment buildings and residences in Sanderson Hills, and the promise of added congestion to come with the new elementary school and assisted living center. Town engineer Chris Hale is in charge of the study.
Asked if the town has looked into any other options, including routing traffic further east where it wouldn’t impact homes, Etheridge said no.
“This one seemed like the most clear cut option … we all agree that is a problem area. What we’re doing is looking for a better alternative to what we have now. Some of the comments I’m hearing now are really more for when we do get some comments back from an engineer,” Etheridge said.
Trustee Regas Halandras echoed the board’s position that the proposed idea is by no means a done deal. “It’s all a theory right now. We’re trying to alleviate traffic off Garfield and Third streets.”
“Until the engineer gets back to us, we don’t even know what’s possible,” said Public Works Supervisor Russell Overton.
Etheridge reassured those present that the board is grateful for their participation in the process, and that no concrete decisions have been made at this time. “We intend to go slow and we intend to go with your help,” Etheridge said. “We are very open to discussion and to other options. This is just the first one we’ve come up with.”
Even if the feasibility study reveals the Second Street plan as an option, there are other factors to consider, according to the mayor.
“It’s not a done deal if it comes back as being feasible. There are myriad questions of how it will look, can we afford it. It might be feasible, but we might not be able to afford it.”