Residents voice concerns over Roosevelt St. condition
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Residents of Pearsall’s Roosevelt Street expressed despair and frustration over ongoing road conditions and questionable land ownership during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, February 28.
Pearsall Mayor Ben Briscoe hosted the meeting to hear residents’ complaints, suggestions and request documentation from landowners regarding the ownership of the road.
“We are not sure about the status of the road,” the mayor said over queries whether it is a private or public road. “It is our desire to find a solution, but we need your help.”
From the intersection of Roosevelt and Alabama streets to Chaparral Road, there is a half-mile stretch of roadway that becomes waterlogged after heavy rains, creating impassable conditions.
“The bottom line is until we address the water there is not going to be a permanent fix,” Briscoe said.
According to a drainage master plan study by Leonard D. Young, an engineer hired by the city, installing a series of underground storm water lines and drop structures on Roosevelt Street may cost as much as $5 million.
“It is difficult to reroute the water because we do not want to reroute onto someone else’s property,” the mayor said.
Before hearing from a packed room of community members, Briscoe reminded residents that final plans for Roosevelt are contingent on council approval.
“We need to formulate a plan, get input from the citizens and see what we can implement,” the mayor said.
Hector Lozano, former city and county attorney, provided the mayor and city administration with a document from September 7, 1911, that gifts 15-foot easement for a third-class road.
An additional survey shows the road was accepted by the city council on March 22, 1984; the mayor, Ruben Leal, signed the document on May 7 that year.
“When it floods, there are people driving through our property,” Melinda Rawson said. “They have no respect for our property.”
Rudy Duenez, whose property entrance is at the corner of Roosevelt and Chaparral, provided City Manager Federico Reyes with documentation that the city owns an easement that runs all the way to the Deer Crossing subdivision. The document allegedly shows a platted road known as Roosevelt Street.
According to Public Works Director Hector Gandara it will cost around $6,000 to level the road.
Gaelan Frazier, who lives on the south end of the road, expressed anger over development of the land.
“That is family-owned land,” Frazier said. “The new development was ramrodded. No easements were ever executed; they were just done. The issue we have here is we have been paying taxes on everyone’s road. Now we are being asked to give up the land. We are going to have to move fences. That is going to cost us. My problem is Mr. Barkley strong-armed the city council and took that land without asking my family’s permission.”
County Pct. 2 Commissioner Mario Martinez told community members in attendance that the city owns the majority of the roadway and that he is proposing an inter-local agreement to help alleviate the road issues.
“This was the number one topic I heard when I was going door-to-door campaigning,” the commissioner said. “But we have to fix the flooding. Unless we fix the flooding, the road will continue to deteriorate.”
County Judge Rochelle Camacho asked residents for their patience and promised to find a solution.
“I know I am asking for patience because it has been band-aid after band-aid but we are more unified now and I want to collaborate with the city and get this project done,” the judge said.