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Street issue in Uniopolis

July 3, 2012

UNIOPOLIS —  A street issue involving a small 30-foot stretch of land is no longer a dead issue in Uniopolis.

A dead end sign posted on South East Street in Uniopolis notifies motorists there is no outlet. The 30-foot stretch of grassy area at the end of the paving goes into the Trupointe Cooperative site where farmers take produce to be weighed.

Residents on the street said farmers should not be using the road as a short cut to get to Trupointe and that its use by farmers poses a safety risk to kids who play in the area.

However, another resident said it is a street and he has the right to take the short cut into the Trupointe facility.

The issue was brought up at the Uniopolis Village Council meeting after councilor Dave Kohlreiser said residents had brought the matter to his attention. Councilors said the issue was discussed five years ago but fizzled out before any official move was made.

“I had the issue brought to me,” Kohlreiser said at Monday’s council meeting. “I thought we should discuss it.”

Going down the street, a vacated alley sets to the left at the end of the road. The 30-foot stretch includes a manhole cover for the village sewer system. A cone has appeared at the stretch and no village officials were able to determine who placed the cone.

“It’s a street,” said Dick Lowry, who is a farmer who lives in the village and uses the path to get to Trupointe. “This issue came up before and was ironed out. It is a street and we can pass through there.”

However, residents living there had a different take.

Chris Fritts, 479 East St., said it is common sense that the road dead ends and motorists taking the route are creating  a risk of harm for his and other children living on the street.

“It is common sense,” Fritts said. “I can’t cut through a field to get to Lima. Its a dead end street and they shouldn’t be passing through here. I’ve seen some narrow misses through here. I have almost been hit myself.”

Fritts said a stop sign had once been at the end of the alley but has since been removed. He said he put a sawhorse in front of the crossover to prevent people from driving through, but was told to remove it by deputies with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.

Fritz has three children and his wife also babysits and children are often playing in the area.

Sarah Parsons, who just recently moved to the street, said she was attracted to the location because she thought it was the dead end street.

“I liked the fact that there was a dead end sign and thought there would be less traffic,” Parsons said. “That has not been the case. There is a different group passing through every day.”

Mayor Bill Rolston said it is a thru-street as far as he is concerned, and people have the right to be making the trip through the location.

He said the amount of traffic using the street is being overstated and there is no safety risk.

“The street is still open all the way through as far as I am concerned,” Rolston said. “To me it is no big issue. I have sat down there and there is very little traffic that goes through there. If there are kids playing in the street, then they shouldn’t be doing it.”

Rolston said if people are driving faster than they should through the area then that is the fault of the village.

“It is not the only spot where that is happening,” Rolston said. “We did away with the police department to save money. People are driving faster than they should throughout the town.”

Trupointe Vice President Galen Thompson said the company prefers people use the main entrance, but the issue is out of the company’s hands.

“Our in-and-out is strictly where it is and that is the only entrance,” Thompson said. “The street dead ends as far as we are concerned and they shouldn’t use it as an entrance. But anyone using it as an entrance doesn’t have anything to do with us.”

Sheriff Al Solomon said the office has not fielded any recent complaints. He said the deputies would take complaints if they came in and investigate the issue if need be.

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