Eagle Bend Road to be repaired, not closed

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

Although surrounding property owners wanted a rural road closed, county leaders decided to bring the road back up to standard rather than abandon it.

The majority of the Yazoo County Supervisors instructed its road manager to bring a portion of Eagle Bend Road back up to par despite it being not maintained for the past several years.

Property stakeholders I.N. Hart and John Michael Pillow appeared before the county board last Friday with a request that the road be closed for public use.

Pillow said a portion of the road was heavily damaged after the 2011 flood.

“It completely washed the road out,” Pillow said. “It did a lot of damage. As a taxpayer who pays a good bit of taxes, I think it would be a mistake to repair this road that is not really being used. It’s really throwing our money away.”

Pillow and Hart both said closing the road to the public would also eliminate a number of burglaries and acts of vandalism they encounter with their farm operations. Many pieces of equipment have to be moved to prevent vandalism. At one time, 12 batteries were stolen from a shop.

“We can’t put diesel out there because they steal it,” Hart said. “You can’t use that property much because of the vandalism.”

Hart added that after a heavy rain, the road is damaged further because of mud riders.

“Then we have a mud track back there, and we can’t do a thing about it because it’s public,” Hart said. “We are in your hands.”

Supervisor Jayne Dew said she doesn’t understand why the road has not been maintained. She said she understands the concerns surrounding the road, but she doesn’t want to create a trend of closing county roads. Also, with gated roads, problems could arise in the future.

“I understand you get broken into, and I understand you have tractors,” she said. “I have got some of the biggest farmers up on my end. They have the same problems, and it’s a county road. We keep their county roads up. If we close this road, it is a slap in the face of the county that the road hasn’t been kept up.”

Supervisor Van Foster, who district the road is in, said maintenance has been an issue with the road going back before his tenure.

“I am ashamed that the county has not kept this road up,” Dew added.

Foster made a motion to close the road with a second by Supervisor David Berry. But the motion failed without the board’s majority support.

Jim Warrington, county road manager, said the project would require a lot of work and money.

“We’ve basically have go to build a road,” Warrington said. It’s not a county road out there. It might have used to have been a road. It’s going to take some major fixing.”

The board instructed Warrington to begin the project immediately in order to keep the road open to the public.