‘Bombed area’

Residents of Holmes Place and Bryant Place have decided enough is enough with the horrific quality of the roads they live on.

During Monday’s Fredonia Village Board meeting, around 30 residents explained to the board that their frustration has reached a boiling point due to inaction on cleaning up and paving the roads for nearly two months.

The roads are currently ground up to the point of almost not being drivable, according to some residents.

One resident even said it is, “Like driving through a bombed area.”

The board made it clear during the meeting that no answers would be given until the facts are accounted for.

“What we intend to do this evening is to take notes and get back to you in written form, either through email, letter or phone call, rather than give any information that’s not true or accurate,” Mayor Stephen Keefe said. “I’m not going to spread false rumors and I’m just going to give you the fast facts as soon as I can. I feel terrible because I’ve … given you three dates already and none of those dates have worked. That’s why I’m hesitant to give any facts right now that we can’t make sure that we can promise you.”

Keefe said he understands what the residents are going through and assured them the village has enough blacktop to complete the roads, despite circulating rumors.

“Unless you live on the street, you really can’t say you understand,” resident Nicole Garra said.

“For (the board) to say, ‘I feel, I understand,’ you really can’t and you really don’t know and all of us as a group are so frustrated because we cannot put up with it,” Garra continued.

Residents told the board that with the upcoming winter, the inability to plow the roads will result in serious accidents if nothing is done. Continuing inaction also means more time for their cars to be damaged by the ground-up stones laying on the roads, as well as by the unevenness and the potholes on the streets. Some residents even explained the dust and dirt stirred up on the street is almost to the point of being a health hazard.

“You knew in advance we were coming here to get our questions answered,” resident Kathy Forster told the board. “We were expecting answers tonight.”

Forster provided many of the questions to the board, which Keefe will address “as soon as (he) finds out the answers to them.” These questions included (but were not limited to): Why one side of Holmes Place is harshly sloped and why the street is so high; what the engineer has told the board must happen to Holmes and Bryant to get them fixed; why some residents are getting water runoff from the streets in their basements and garages; why a giant slab of cement is located at the end of Bryant Place and what can be done to remove it; and if a possible timetable for a project to fix the streets can be given.

“That is the ultimate question: will it be done correctly? Will it be paved? And when?” Forster asked. “I don’t want to see village vehicles do their turnaround anymore in that empty lot either because that’s what they do now since it’s empty and a dustbowl. (The village has its) spot on Eagle Street. That mess down there is your spot to put your village dumping stuff. Not my street, where I pay $6,000 in taxes to look at a lot full of crap.”

Originally, the Holmes Place project called for taking the street down, cleaning it up, putting new pipes down and putting in a brand new, paved road, according to Keefe. The project has been ongoing for the past five years.

“This all started because you had water mains breaking under your street every three weeks,” he told the group of residents. “Rather than paving over it, you had a mayor that said, ‘Why don’t we go ahead and do it the right way?’ I started this nightmare for you and I take full credit for it and all the blame for it.”

While Keefe took responsibility for what has happened to Holmes and Bryant, he said he has an engineer in the process of looking at what can be done to fix the roads, which has occurred recently or will occur very soon. Keefe said he will check on the progress of that and review what the engineer recommends as soon as possible.

Residents also told the board that while they are frustrated with the quality of the roads, they are thankful for the new water lines that have been placed there as part of the overall project. They also thanked the street department employees, whom they said have been courteous to them the entire time.

“(We) just want it to be done and over with and be correct,” resident Brad Nelson said. “People want to come back here and sit in this room with these plans in our hands and look (the board) in the eye and … know when it’s going to be done.”

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