HEFLIN — Several residents attended a public hearing Monday night at the Cleburne County Commission meeting to voice their concerns about whether a road might be blocked off in the southern end of the county.
As it turned out, county officials told them, no barricades of the road were planned — just a change in legal status.
Letters had been sent out to residents who own property on County Road 821, a gravel road, telling them the road would be closed from County Road 431 to the Cleburne/Randolph county line — exactly 1,070 feet of road or two-tenths of a mile. Residents who showed up at the meeting feared that access to their property would be blocked off entirely, but found out that the county intends to vacate the road; that means the county will no longer perform maintenance on the road and will give up ownership of it.
One of those landowners, Revonda Bowen, said during the hearing, “How are we gonna get to our property?”
“A road closure is not something we would like to see,” Bowen said.
Lee Estes, Cleburne County engineer, spoke after Bowen finished and reassured her and the other residents in attendance that the county is only vacating the road.
“In no way is it blocking access to your property,” Estes said.
The commission voted unanimously to vacate, not close, County Road 821 after the public hearing.
In other business the commission voted to approve:
— $25,500, which is an increase, for the Emergency Management’s budget for the replacement of the Coleman Lake severe weather siren. According to Kim Brown, Cleburne County’s chief financial officer, the siren was damaged by a logging truck and the logging company’s insurance paid the claim to have the siren replaced. The amount reflects an increase in expenditures that the logging company’s insurance will pay for. The new siren has been installed and is operational according to Crystal Cavender, Cleburne County Emergency Manager.
The commission also approved $41,843 which will go towards capital, administrative and operations expenditures for the Non-Urbanized Area Public Transportation Program for fiscal year 2020. An agreement will be executed with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission for the public transit services in Cleburne County.
According to Commissioner Laura Cobb the public transit system is an essential service for residents and includes transportation for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and other needs in the mostly rural county.
Estes reminded the Commission that County Road 49 at the Bailey Branch Creek Bridge is now closed for bridge replacement. Estes said he expects the bridge to be closed for five months.
Estes also reported that due to the recent rains over the weekend his road crews have been busy doing maintenance on the county’s dirt roads.
“We got hit good,” Estes said of the condition of the roads.