“At least it’s a start, I think in the right direction.”
The words of Jim Jackson, Newton County commissioner, upon the decision that the city of Neosho will place a sign at the entrance to a neighborhood to warn motorists that dozens of children are at play.
Paul Parish approached both city and county officials about placing speed limit and children at play signs on Kayenta Lane, a dead-end cul-de-sac off of Palm Road, just west of Missouri Highway 59.
Parish explained that his landlord had told him Kayenta is supposed to be a county road. His landlord, Greg Houck, is the one who developed the subdivision. Though not in the city, homes in the subdivision are served with city water and sewer, at 1 ½ times the rate paid by city residents. However, he said they cannot receive cable or internet service from Suddenlink because they are not in the city limits.
When first approaching county commissioners, Parish said he was presented a huge petition for making it a public road.
“I would have to be an attorney to even understand how to fill this out,” he said.
He said he did get a petition, signed by residents of all 28 of the residences that are now leased in the neighborhood. Parish said the petition stated, “We would like a speed limit maximum of 15 miles per hour, and a ‘We love our children, please drive carefully’ sign posted.”
“There’s 45 children – somewhere around there – and I would hate for one of them to get hurt because someone decides to speed,” he added. “Now whether or not a speed limit sign is going to prevent that – it does at least bring awareness.”
As a disabled veteran, Parish said he spends much time at home, and sees way too much speeding.
“I’ve had to call the sheriff’s department, and I think the sheriff’s department has better things to do than go to people’s houses and warn them not to speed,” he said.
He admits some of the transgressors are his neighbors, but said the property owner is in the process of removing some of the “bad apples.”
Parish concluded, “We live on a dead-end road, the road’s only like an eighth of a mile long; it doesn’t make any sense why there isn’t a speed limit sign. I have a huge issue — there’s a lot of children, I’ve seen way too many speeders — and it didn’t make sense to use police officers to enforce the law when we can just bring awareness.
“If something happens to these children, I feel consciously, it’s on me. I would hold a heavy burden if I know a child got hurt on that road, knowing that I’m trying to do this, and I’m not getting help.”
Parish approached the Neosho Daily News about his problem Monday. Jackson reported on Tuesday that commissioners were discussing the issue with city officials. On Wednesday, Jackson announced that a solution had been reached.
“The city is going to make the sign, and they said they’d be glad to put it up for us, and we’ll move forward from there,” Jackson said.
He said Kayenti Lane is not in the city, and is not a county maintained road.
Jackson continued, “We have so many private drives in the county that we do not maintain. It’s kind of up to the individual homeowner or development area to maintain a lot of those roads, and we get calls from time to time from people that want a sign put up, and if we don’t maintain that road we really don’t have a responsibility to go onto somebody’s private property and start putting up signs, and sometimes people like that in those areas will put up their own signs – like say a ‘dead-end’ sign, or have them made for that purpose.”
Though the road is in a sort of “no man’s land,” Jackson said he is glad the city was accommodating.
“I hope this is a good start, and we’ll see what happens moving forward,” he said. “There may be more adjustments or looking for more problems to solve down the road, and we’ll put our heads together when that time comes, too.
“I admire what Mr. Parish is doing, because a lot of people wouldn’t take the time or effort to gather signatures or go to city hall or go to the county for that kind of assistance. I appreciate what he is doing.”
Dana Daniel, Neosho economic development director, said the city has agreed to create a sign that cautions motorists that children are at play on that street. He said public works crews are looking at some templates, so he is not yet sure of the exact wording.
As to why the city would agree to make and post the sign, Daniel said there are several reasons.
“Obviously in working with the county and the special road district, we want to be attentive to needs of the kids,” he said. “We also have a number of homeowners who are in that area and on that street who are on water and sewer services with the city, so there is a connection even though officially there is not an annexation or a property issue at this point.”
He said there is a possibility that neighborhood will be annexed into the city in the future; and in fact those homes have been built to city codes in the eventuality of annexation.
Daniel said the city will provide one sign, which should be posted within seven to ten days. Regarding Parish, Daniel said, “Sometime you’ve just got to voice your opinion and then be patient while it works its way. I think this is a good resolution to that.”
Parish said he was happy to learn that a sign is going to be posted to alert motorists that children are at play on Kayenta Lane. He said he still holds out the wish for speed limit signs to be posted at each end of the street, but is somewhat satisfied by the solution.