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Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Petitioners: Semis block Coldwater street accessibility

By Betty Lawrence
COLDWATER - Residents living in the 300 and 400 blocks of East Vine Street have signed a petition requesting village officials correct a traffic nightmare involving semitrailers arriving and leaving the abutting Basic Grain Company.
The petition, signed by 11 residents and led by Mari-Lynn Reed of 305 E. Vine St., claims that semitrailers park on the south side of East Vine Street while waiting to load or unload. At times the rigs even block private driveways, the petition claims.
"I take my grandchildren to school and one morning I had to have my grandson actually go out into the street to let me know if it was safe to back out to take them to school. I couldn't see because semis were parked on either side of my driveway. There have even been times when my driveway was blocked," Reed told the newspaper Monday evening.
Reed said she has informed the village's police department and even contacted the Mercer County Sheriff's Department, in addition to turning in the petition to Village Manager/Engineer Eric Thomas.
"The deputy with the sheriff's department that came, well, it took him 22 minutes to just get out of my driveway. I timed it," Reed said. "I already had called Basic Grain to get them to move the semis and all I got was some smart-aleck answers. They told me it was a public street and the semis could park there if they wanted to."
Reed said the neighbors mostly are concerned about safety.
"It's dangerous pulling out because you can't see. And we want access to our driveways," she said. "What if a fire truck had to come down here. The situation is an accident just waiting to happen."
Resident John Seibert of 427 E. Vine St. echoed Reed's sentiments.
"I don't have a driveway, but I park on the street and there are times when I get blocked in and I can't get out," he said.
Basic Grain Operations Manager Amy Day this morning said the company recently starting producing for a new customer, doubling its output, and is working on spreading out semitrailer scheduling with the new customer.
"We have addressed the semi parking problem with the customer and a schedule for the drivers is being worked out, to spread it out over the whole week, so they're not all here at the same time," Day said.
The petition asks that a large fenced and gated area on the west side of the Basic Grain property be used to park the semis that are waiting to load or unload.
A village parking ordinance only restricts vehicle parking for periods longer than 48 hours, Thomas said.
"We're still investigating the issue. One side of Vine Street (the north side where Basic Grain is located) is no parking, so the semis park on the south side of the street, where the houses are," Thomas said this morning. "We'll be stepping up enforcement and working on restricting the semi parking. I'm sure something can be worked out for everyone."
Council took no action on the issue, but the transportation committee agreed to meet at a later date to further discuss the problem.
"I know what they're talking about," councilor Doug Bertke said. "I've seen up to eight semis at once, all parked along Vine Street."
Additional online story on this date
Eighteen applicants from Mercer County were approved for a total of $329,000 from the USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for fiscal year 2008, about $100,000 more than last year. [More]
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