Councilman: Decisions lie with public works director Glascock
COLUMBIA, 9/29/10 (Beat Byte) -- A "deadly curve on Creasy Springs Road" in north Columbia has members of the Prairie Hills Neighborhood Association fed up with delays on street and bridge projects in their neighborhood.
Prairie Hills residents agreed to voluntary annexation into the City of Columbia in 2007, hoping for improved public services. But those promises have yet to pan out.
Living near Vanderveen and north of Bear Creek on Creasy Springs Road, Prairie Hills neighbors kicked off a discussion this summer about road and bridge problems, prompted by recurrent flooding.
"Does anyone know how long before the city plans to build the new bridge over Bear Creek that they have to build anyway when they straighten Creasy Springs Road?" neighborhood association member Nancy Kievit asked on an email listserv. "There are more people than just Prairie Hills residents who can't get out or home between Bear Creek and Clearview when the creeks are flooded."
Sending questions from her group to Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill, Kievit first asked when City Hall was planning to straighten the deadly curve on Creasy Springs Road, an estimated $9 million dollar project she called "long overdue."
"Money in that amount is not lying around awaiting a valid project," Thornhill responded. "This project is complicated with regard to funding sources, as the road meanders in and out of city and county jurisdictions, requiring a joint effort between city and county."
Creek flooding "blocks residents of neighborhoods other than Prairie Hills from using Creasy Springs to get either in or out," Kievit insisted, also inquiring about city plans to re-build bridges in the area.
"Folks further north can use Creasy Springs to Obermiller, or Brown School Road to get around flooded areas," Thornhill responded, with a caveat that he "may be mistaken."
Referencing a Columbia Heart Beat article, Prairie Hills neighbors wanted to know why City Hall wasn't spending part of its lavish cash stash to "fix the Bear Creek bridge, straighten Creasy Springs Road, save lives by eliminating that deadly curve, and allow emergency vehicles access when the creeks are flooded for as much as 12 hours at a time."
"This [Columbia Heart Beat] article has caught fire, and I can hardly catch up with the number of people who've asked me about it," Thornhill responded, correcting what he termed "a significant error" about the size of the stash reported here. He also explained that prioritizing Prairie Hills was mostly the purview of public works director John Glascock.
"[Glascock] felt that some other projects could be delayed to accomodate for this, if neighborhood support indicated the project was worthy of becoming a priority over others," Thornhill explained.
[Ed. Note: In August, City Manager Bill Watkins told Council members City Hall had around $166 million in cash; audited financial statements peg the amount at between $120 and $200 million, with $1.1 billion in total assets.]