By Alton Mitchell
A nearly yearlong battle between residents along a residential street in LaFayette came to an abrupt end on Monday night as LaFayette’s city council made a ruling on the vacating of a street in LaFayette. The councils answer was no.
Late last year LaFayette resident Terry Mangram filed a petition before the LaFayette city council to close the 6th Court Southeast in LaFayette. The roadway is mostly residential and located near JP Powell Middle School. The issue has continued to be unresolved by council and opposition grew on both sides as neighbors saw different views in closing the roadway.
In January of this year residents turned out to LaFayette’s City Hall and held a public hearing to argue both sides of the closure of Sixth Court Southeast. Residents cited concerns over safety and accessibility of emergency and city vehicles if the roadway was closed at that meeting. Mr. Mangram came armed with a list of counter arguments including the road is non-existent on County GIS maps and there are other access points for residents on the roadway to reach their homes. Mangram also presented arguments that the city vacating the roadway could give him more safety and stability at his residence.
In the January public hearing department heads from some of the city of LaFayette’s departments were asked about their need or lack of need for the roadway. Superintendent George Green told council members they his department had researched the area and several impacts it may have including traffic, services, and public safety. Mr. Green told council members his department had strong concerns about the ability of waste trucks and the city limb truck to be able to access the area or turn around without the access of Sixth Court Southeast.
In the January meeting members of the LaFayette city council tabled the issue. It has been brought up a meetings since the public hearing, but no decision was ever voted on by council. The disagreement over Sixth Court Southeast hit the chambers of City Hall again on this Monday night.
Resident Twyla Pullen addressed council about the issue and came speaking on behalf of the residents of Sixth Court Southeast. Mrs. Pullen presented a signed petition from residents of the area to be presented to city council requesting that the roadway remain open. In addition to the presentation of the petition of residents Pullen also presented a letter from the Principal at J.P. Powell Middle School explaining why the roadway should remain open.
According to Pullen the school has instituted a new safety plan which includes an evacuation route for students that takes them to Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and through Sixth Court Southeast. “This is an illogical road closure. It is an access point for several residents, emergency vehicles, and waste management vehicles,” Pullen told council members. She continued, “We feel it is not appropriate to close the road for one resident when it is needed by all”.
Her words settled on council members ears as Councilman Michael Ellis stated, “This has been lingering for some time and I request that we close this tonight”. Ellis then asked for a motion to vote on the closure status of Sixth Court Southeast on Monday night. Council members agreed and all members of council who were present voted to keep Sixth Court open.
Resident Terry Mangram was present at the meeting, he did not respond during the meeting to the council voting to keep the roadway open. Residents in the area state that this is not the first time the issue was brought up before council. Residents have stated it was previously attempted during a time period when Mayor Findley was in office. That resulted in the street remaining open as well.