City leaders, citizens respond to Call 6 investigation into crumbling roads

Councilors: Roads should be priority, not cricket

INDIANAPOLIS - A Call 6 Investigation into crumbling roads is prompting reaction from city leaders and from citizens.

Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney found thousands of sections of streets in poor and failing condition despite a huge influx of infrastructure dollars, also known as RebuildIndy.
           
City county councilor William Oliver, D-District 10, invited RTV6 to see the deteriorating streets in Forest Manor, near Emerson Avenue.
           
"We pay our property taxes in our area and we're not getting a return on that, as you can obviously see," Oliver said.
           
Oliver is concerned about rotting roads as well as the lack of sidewalks and curbs in the eastside community.
           
"That's one of our taxpayers walking in the middle of the street," said Oliver, interrupting the interview to point out a woman. "It's kind of embarrassing to share the street with automobiles."
           
Oliver said it's something his constituents are frustrated with safety and drainage issues.
           
"Pave the street, that's what I'd like to have done," said Loretta Sullivan, a resident of Forest Manor. "The streets are just bad. They've got big holes and gulleys." 
           
The Call 6 Investigation resulted in a 5 percent uptick in calls about crumbling roads, according to Constituent Services Director Sarah Taylor.
           
"Yes, obviously it did generate some calls," said Taylor. "In some cases, it triggered the memory of previous requests they'd made and we were able to check on the status for them."
           
Call 6 Investigators said contacting the Mayor's Action Center, a city county councilor and the mayor's neighborhood liaison are all good ways to get a road on the paving list.
           
The saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is true when it comes to road complaints.
           
"If we hear many voices saying the same thing from the same part of the community, that helps us make priorities for the work," said Dennis Papenmeier, who oversees Neighborhood Liaisons for Mayor Greg Ballard.
           
But getting the money is not so simple, even with $420 million from the sale of the water utility in 2010.
           
Papenmeier argues weather is a constant factor.
           
"It's endemic of the fact that we live in central Indiana with the whole freeze-thaw cycle, which has been weakening our infrastructure for decades," said Papenmeier.
           
But Oliver argues the city has the money but not the right priorities.
           
"I say we need this and that in our neighborhood and they say we don't have the money unless you raise taxes," said Oliver.
           
Numerous councilors RTV6 spoke with Tuesday said infrastructure dollars should not be spent on a $6 million dollar cricket complex, and instead should be used to fix sidewalks and roads.
           
"There's no plans for the city to do these (roads)," said Oliver "But I have heard of the $6 million dollar plans to build a cricket field out there."
           
The Department of Public Works Board is expected to vote on the cricket and sports complex at a 1 p.m. meeting Wednesday.
           
The project would use RebuildIndy money.
           
To search for your county and submit a road repair request, click here .
 

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