News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 14, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Aug. 14, 2012

Is this best use of city’s money?

I read and enjoy Ronn Mott’s columns in the T-S. I was immediately interested in his column that bore the headline “Seriously? Are you kidding me?” It was the headline itself the grabbed me, but my moment of “Seriously? Are you kidding me?” was different from Mr. Mott’s. Mine came while reading an article in this newspaper about the city of Terre Haute paying a consultation firm out of Indianapolis $75,000 to determine how many additional seconds it would take one to travel through the city if Cherry Street, among others, was made a two-way instead of one-way street. Seriously.

I’ll do the city of Terre Haute a favor and take a stopwatch and drive on Cherry Street from Ninth Street to Third Street and see how long it takes and then the Street Department can block off one of the westbound lanes and I’ll drive east with my stopwatch and see how many additional seconds it will take me, thereby saving the city and the people of Terre Haute $75,000. I won’t even charge for that little bit of gas I’ll use. What a truly stupid waste of money. I’m outraged because the city could spend that money for a thousand better projects.

I wrote a letter similar to this one several years ago when the sidewalks were being replaced in Edgewood Grove. Yes, maybe those sidewalks were cracked and uneven, but at least they had sidewalks and storm drains. We live in near southeast neighborhood that has neither.

Let’s not forget, either, the work that took place along Ohio Boulevard, where the curbs were replaced this summer and they used those simply adorable bricks which, I’m sure, added to the overall cost.

Every year there is at least one article in the Tribune-Star about not letting water stand in yards because of mosquitoes laying their eggs and West Nile Virus. With the exception of this year, yes, our neighborhood does get rain and we have more standing water than most neighborhoods because where is the water going to go without storm drains? What are we supposed to do? Go out and sop it up with some paper towels?

As I said in my letter of a few years ago, the children in our neighborhood are within walking distance to Devaney and Sugar Grove schools and, north of Hulman, Woodrow Wilson Middle School. The Wilson kids are safe once they hit 25th because of the sidewalks, but what about until then? Our students can walk in people’s yards unless we have any significant amount of rain or snow and then they are forced to walk on the street during morning rush hour traffic. Many parents drive their children to school simply because it’s so dangerous to let them walk.  

Unfortunately, some children have to walk. It’s nothing short of a miracle that no child has been hit by a car on their way to school, but that’s because people around here are extra cautious because we’re aware of just how dangerous it is for a child to walk to school.

Now, it’s just too bad we don’t all live in Richland Manor where there’s a bus to take the kids to Honey Creek because, guess why? They have to walk along a busy road with no sidewalk. You don’t say? I don’t know what the level of traffic is on Carlisle versus, say, 29th Street or Wallace, but somebody should at least check into it. I would do it myself if I had $75,000 to hire a consulting firm, but I don’t.

So, the people who live in the more affluent neighborhoods like Edgewood Grove, Richland Manor and along Ohio, reap the benefits of our tax dollars in addition to theirs. Well, pardon the heck out of us ordinary, middle-class folks who can’t afford to live in those neighborhoods and sit here with nothing being done.

We’ve lived in our home for 19 years and in all that time our road (it’s not a street because being a street implies sidewalks) has been resurfaced once and that’s one more time than most other roads around here. Our house was built in the 1940s with, I’m sure, other houses around here built about the same time. So, is the city of Terre Haute actually saying than in 70 years never, ever one time has there been enough money in the coffers to do something about this problem? Seriously?

If I sound outraged, that’s because I am. I’m hoppin’ mad: $75,000.  Seriously? Are you kidding me?

— Pam Curts

Terre Haute

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