Several residents voiced their concerns to the Page County Board of Supervisors about the county converting about a mile and a half of 250th Street from hard surface to gravel.
The discussion, held during the supervisors meeting Tuesday, Nov. 26, was about the portion west of U.S. Highway 71, south of Clarinda. Page County Secondary Roads department planned the road work to change the road’s surface from the deteriorating pavement.
“I’d rather drive slow and curvy on pavement than straight on gravel,” said Mark Driscoll, one of the residents who told the supervisors his opinions. “I’d like to see it oiled and chip-sealed.”
The portion of 250th street is just one of three segments of Page County roads the department is converting. Other segments are F Avenue, also known as M44, from 270th to Northboro. Another portion is Montgomery-Page Street from U.S. Highway 71 east to Willow and then 2 miles south on Willow.
Residents claim living on a gravel road will change the appeal to their properties.
“Being on gravel, I can’t do that anymore,” said Mitch Holmes, who explained how the dust from the gravel settles in his shop where he does detail work. “The road is non-stop traffic.”
Holmes claims properties on gravel roads will have less value. He said the value of his home could be as much as $50,000 less compared to it being on a paved road.
Driscoll said a comment once made to him about living on 250th is it will always be paved because of the Reformed Presbyterian Church and cemetery on the road. The church moved in 2015 to Clarinda and eventually sold the property.
According to county officials, in 2017 the cost to chip-seal a road was estimated at $160,000 a mile. A coating of oil is put on the surface, then covered with fine pieces of gravel embedded within the oil to create the hard surface. Supervisor Jon Herzberg said it’s possible a special assessment could be created so property owners pay for a portion of the road improvements.
Becky Baldwin, another 250th Street resident, said the dust lowers the quality of life. She calls the dust an irritant.
“You can’t take a walk,” she said. “It makes me sad. Everything is dirty now.”
Sad is just one feeling Gary Ulmer said he has with the gravel road.
“Anger, sad, depression. I feel like I want to cry,” he said. He said he attempts to make his property look as good as possible, but a coating of dust on his patio is constant.
County Engineer J.D. King said dry weather spells will create dusty roads. Supervisor Chuck Morris said he has suggested King find a different road rock that may create less dust.