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Commissioners to reconsider road closure

Staff writer

Last week the permanent closure of a portion of Chisholm Trail Rd. between 300th and 310th Rds. seemed imminent, but after a number of individuals spoke to the importance of the stretch of road at Monday’s meeting, Commissioners will reconsider before moving forward.

A public hearing garnered multiple attendees Monday, with only one in favor of closing the road permanently. That individual, Dale Christiansen, expressed only a moderate desire to close the road, with lack of necessity as his primary reason.

Gerald Unruh, Ron Unruh, and Gene Unruh, however, all begged to differ. They use the stretch of road to go to their pastures, and are forced to drive two to three miles out of the way by its closure.

Chris Costello and Autumn Chisholm of Rural Water District No. 1 also spoke against the closure of the road, saying it would severely inconvenience necessary maintenance operations along that stretch of road.

The road currently is closed because a stone bridge has structural damage. Ron Unruh insisted “it would take very little to fix it.” Gerald Unruh chimed in “it looks sound to me.” Commissioners said they’d need to review the bridge with Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford to confirm its condition.

Gayland Martens, who lives near the road, approached commissioners last week asking them to close it, insisting he and Christiansen were the only two that use it, and that Diamond Rd. is available one mile over should anyone need access.

Commissioners seemed surprised at the outpouring of support for the road, and said they would reconsider.

“That’s why we have these hearings,” Chairman Dan Holub said. “You think something’s no big deal, then it turns out that’s not the case.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke agreed, but wouldn’t make promises regarding the future of the road.

“This is the way things are going,” he said. “We’ll look at it, but we meet with other county commissioners, a lot of them are doing this, closing roads that aren’t necessary. We’ll look at it again, but you need to prepare for, at some point, something happening.”

In other business:

  • During a break in Clerk Tina Spencer’s allotted time, Dallke called for a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel. No decision came out of it.
  • Teresa Huffman showed commissioners an advertisement the county placed in a travel magazine. She detailed recent promotional events she attended and said she had to cancel the Leadership Marion County course due to lack of participants. The three individuals who signed up will be trained for a leadership board.
  • Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt presented commissioners with a letter of resignation Monday. Schmidt said he took a position in Harvey County. His resignation will be effective March 27.

Last modified March 19, 2015

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