EHDA searches for solution on streets

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency is searching for answers to determine if the agency or the City of Elizabethton is responsible for maintaining the streets, sidewalks and utilities throughout the EHDA communities.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The question came up after the condition of streets and sidewalks in the EHDA neighborhoods was listed as a finding on the agency’s most recent Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) scores. The agency received an 88 on the neighborhood inspection, and a 92 on the overall score and still rated as a high performer.

Some of the areas in question can be found on Pine Ridge Circle in front of the EHDA administration building in front of the 930 apartment building. The street has been dug up for water line repair and has been refilled with gravel until the surface can be patched; in other places, the road surface is breaking away and needs to be repaired.

“It is my contention that these are city streets, sidewalks and utilities,” EHDA Director Kelly Geagley said. “When I bring this to the city, they say they don’t own the street and they cannot make the repairs.”

When the housing community was built in 1969, it was built as a traditional subdivision, Geagley said. This means the developer had to put in the water lines, streets and sidewalks. After a set amount of time, those infrastructure items would be deeded back to the city to be included in the city system.

“I have the resolutions where the EHDA dedicated the streets to the city and the resolution where city council voted to approve it,” Geagley said.

According to Geagley, the EHDA Board of Directors voted on Jan. 30, 1987 to deed the streets, utilities and sidewalks in the EHDA communities back to the city, and city council voted on Feb. 23, 1987 to approve the acceptance of those streets.

The EHDA has been making repairs to the water and sewer lines for years to save money after being billed by the city for the work, Geagley said. However, the agency lacks the equipment necessary to make road repairs such as patching and paving.

The EHDA believes utility repairs beyond the city right-of-way should fall to the city, along with street and sidewalk repairs, Geagley said.

“There is no doubt in my mind those things were deeded to the city and it was accepted,” Geagley said. “It is very frustrating to not be making any progress on this. We are not asking for a lot. We just want our sidewalks and streets fixed.”

The board agreed to have EHDA attorney Tom Banks research the issue and then discuss it with city attorney Roger Day to reach a resolution.