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Posted: Thursday, February 28th 2013 at 12:37pm

Roads: City wants repairs and a focus group

By Marc Eggers Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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David Dockery
GAINESVILLE – What appeared at first to be a lack of interest by Gainesville residents to volunteer to be a part of a transportation focus group might be simply a matter of miscommunication.

Public Works Director David Dockery told the Gainesville City Council at their work session Thursday morning that their efforts to recruit residents and business owners to form a 10-member committee – two being selected from each of the city’s five wards – had yielded only five responses total.

As a result the first planned meeting for the focus group - scheduled for today - had to be cancelled.

"Unfortunately, we have had very limited success in putting that group together," Dockery said, explaining that his department had issued several press releases, that there had been an article in the local newspaper, that the need for volunteers was on the city’s website and that his department had contacted several groups whom they thought might have interest in participating.

"As of yesterday there were only a total of five people that had the expressed interest in being on that citizens’ advisory committee," Dockery added.

At that point a member of the audience, Heitzso (editor: that is his full name) of Circle Drive in Gainesville, mentioned that he was a part of the Citizen-Government Academy and had not been notified of the need for focus group members.

"I was on the Academy and I was not called,” Heitzso interjected. “There were 30 or 40 people the last time around – ten or eleven years ago when this was done – and I was right in the thick of it. There may be other avenues that I can introduce you to put bodies together (for the group)."

Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras said it was possible that the city’s attempt to publicize their plan and the need for citizen participation were not as clear and forefront as they might be.

"Well," Dockery said to the Council, "why don’t we go back to the drawing board on our public outreach?"

Even Mayor Danny Dunagan said he misunderstood the plan, thinking that each Coucil member would simply nominate two individuals from their respective ward to be a part of the focus group. "I didn’t know we were going to put together a pool. I just thought we would do like we do for many other committees…just appoint two people. I didn’t understand that part."

"We’ll go back and make an extra effort on that and come back to you with the findings," Dockery told Council.

Any Gainesville resident or business owner interested in serving on the transportation focus group should contact Gainesville Traffic Engineer Dee Taylor at 770-535-6890.


POT HOLES AND STATE ROADS

David Dockery told the City Council that his department was trying to get the Georgia Department of Transportation to repair some of the pot holes and other roadway problems that have plagued state routes that traverse the city limits.

Dockery said that the DOT explained that in most instances delays were weather related, but that he had been promised that the repair work had not been forgotten.

"They’ve got a lot of patching to do," Mayor Dunagan said.

"One other thing…we may need to press the DOT on Green Street. When it rains it is one dangerous street! It’s a miracle there’s not more wrecks there," Dunagan said. "Something needs to be done with Green Street as far as drainage. It’s a major problem."

"Maybe we need to make them a little more aware of it…maybe be a little more vocal (about it)," Dunagan suggested.

"We’re maintaining a list of problem-spots for DOT," Dockery said, assuring the Council that road repairs would be forthcoming.
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