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Public comments on speeding traffic problem in Lewisport

A concerned resident attended the Lewisport City Council Meeting on Thursday evening, July 20th, requesting that city law enforcement handle the problem of speeding vehicles through neighborhoods.

The Lewisport resident & his wife live on Bluegrass Drive and moved in last September, he said. He addressed the council saying, “I came to the meeting to ask all of you, especially you officer, if we could get something done about the speeding that goes on up and down our street.

We have a very nice community over there, and people walk with their children and walk their dogs, old folks walk up and down the streets, and there’s a lot of speeding going on. We’ve got those new houses going in at the end of the street (Hancock Park), and it’s just going to make the traffic even worse. I don’t know what to do about it, but I think we should address something to slow those folks down.”

Lewisport Mayor Chad Gregory responded, “I appreciate you coming and telling us.”

Lewisport Police Chief Greg Linn said, “We get complaints from time to time in that subdivision. Or, at least I have. Of course, it’s usually after the fact, and sometimes they may not know who the person is [that was speeding]. It’s been more often in the summertime, with younger people/teenagers doing that sort of thing. I’m kind of short-handed right now. I’ll do what I can in the mean time, as far as doing some stationary radar and I can also reach out to some of the other agencies to work our area to let them know we’re getting some complaints.”

City Administrator Jason Roberts said, “We can possibly put one (speed sign) on the east side of Robbins Circle, to make a difference a little bit there.”

Gregory added, “I know, years ago, we looked at speed bumps out there. They’re a little more tedious that lay down. There was a little bit of hoops to jump (red tape) right there to put them down.”

The gentleman said he was thinking of the “little bumper stoppers” they have at stores. Linn responded that the problem with those is they can be removed fairly easily if someone wanted to pull them up. Roberts added that they can be ripped out accidentally as well, during winter months when they’re covered with snow and ice and aren’t visible to the road crew cleaning the streets.

Councilman Kelly Vanover said, “Before all that was re-paved, those dips (to slow vehicles down) used to be a lot deeper and you couldn’t go faster.”

The gentleman said he noticed traffic does slow down in between those “dips” in the road, but that vehicles drive very fast in the long stretch in between them, right in front of their houses on Bluegrass Dr.

Councilwoman Mary Margaret Hawkins agreed that the speeding is a problem saying, “They burn the highway up. They’re going so fast that I know they’re jumping that railroad track and then they’re gunning it from there all the way through the intersection. It’s getting to be a problem.”

Councilwoman Josephine Hagan said she is having a problem with vehicles speeding on the street where she & her husband reside, in Lewisport, as well. “It’s pickup trucks, and they go up and down the road all the time,” she said.

Linn added, “Yesterday evening, I was mowing my front yard, and it doesn’t take me 15-20 minutes to actually mow that part of it, and just from my observation on our street, there were a half dozen people that absolutely needed a ticket. It’s an issue, but it’s going to improve.”

Hagan said there used to be a speed sign in front of her house, but not now. She asked Linn if Lewisport could set their own speed limit. Linn answered, “On your part it’s a state road. The state would have to address that. It’s 35 (mph speed limit now). We can’t supersede [what the state mandates].” He added that when they get the new officer back from police academy training (Nick Jarboe) that it will help out a lot with managing this problem. Jarboe is currently half way through his police training.

Booster Station Reallocation

The first resolution was approved by the council to reallocate monies to the booster station. “There was a Clean Water Grant that we applied for to get the interconnect with East Daviess County,” Roberts explained. “When the budget came in, it was super high. So, we didn’t have the money to cover it. The next round from Clean Water came in, and we scrapped another project for another interconnect (between Hawesville & Lewisport), and we took those monies and reallocated the money to pay for the interconnect (interconnect with East Daviess Co.) and the booster station.”

Fire Protection at NHES

It was approved by the council to get a water line extending out to North Hancock Elementary immediately, for fire protection of the school.

Public Works Update

Public Works reported being busy with ditch-work and utilities, and that many are now getting fiber installed from TDS. The team has also been really busy with the RO Plant (Reverse Osmosis Pilot Water Plant Study). It began Tuesday, July 18th and will be running 24/7 for the next 3-4 months (see feature in this Clarion edition for further details). They plan on doing a showing of the project to council members before the next council meeting.

Police Dept. Update

 Previous Lewisport Chief of Police, District 1 Magistrate John Garner, is still presently on the city’s payroll. He reported: “Everything is going really well. Tomorrow, Nick (Jarboe) finishes up week 9, with 11 more to go (at police academy). I got information Monday morning, he had his 2nd accumulative academic test and scored 100 percent. That’s impressive, because there’s a lot of stuff they throw at you.

From an activity standpoint, this is from January 1 to July 7th of this year, and this number is actually low, because Nick has been gone from that point for a couple of months, if you will – 279 calls for the Lewisport Police Department (up to that point). That’s actually a little low. It would be closer to about 300, had Nick been here, because some of those calls were being diverted to the sheriff’s department or whoever. We consistently stay busy.”

Annexation/Expansion of Lewisport

The subject of annexing came up, after a discussion about an idea from several years ago that had not come to fruition due to covid, regarding the city hiring a company called Retail Coach, which studies the highway to do traffic counts and provides information in a format for attracting companies into the area in order to create more growth/retail development.

Hawkins said, “We haven’t annexed any property for years. We need to go in different directions, because a lot of cities are doing that.”

“Annexation – a lot of that has been curtailed, from a state level,” Gregory said. “Let’s just say, for example, a business wanted to come in past Heartland Villa, and they wanted to get on water & sewer. Well, you’re going to have to be annexed to get it. The growth that we’ve had is still in the city.

Another example, let’s just say somebody bought 5 acres beside the hotel and they wanted to put in that Dairy Queen – well, if you want on water & sewer, you’re going to have to be annexed. We’ve just not had that kind of growth yet, to start annexing. Generally, that’s business. That’s how cities operate, if it’s outside the city. If they buy that 5 acres beside the hotel, they’re not in the city. We’d have to annex that in.”

Sometimes it depends upon federal funds as well, City Attorney Charles Kamuf said, there are certain requirements that have to be done. “It’s complicated,” he added.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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