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Several Show Concern For Area

By Staff | Aug 19, 2009

Partially obscured by the high weeds is an open ditch to this vacant home in the Brooklyn area of New Martinsville. Neighbors want the city to address the dilapidated building issue, along with reckless all-terrain vehicles and drug activity. (Photo by Amy Witschey)

Some residents of the Brooklyn area of New Martinsville are asking New Martinsville City Council for its help in making their neighborhood a better place.

Several residents of the Anderson Lane area voiced their concerns at the city council meeting Aug. 3, asking for some property enforcement and the closure of Anderson Lane.

Anderson Lane is a gravel road between Foundry and Kappel Streets. They say it has become a thoroughfare for all-terrain vehicles and drug activity. The latter, said Darrell Cecil, is a common occurrence. He sees out-of-state vehicles all the time. He counted 11 on a recent Friday night.

“This goes on nightly,” Cecil told council. “You can smell it (drugs) when you walk out on your porch. We can’t even let our grandchildren play (outdoors).”

The ATVs and cars, said Cecil, go around the corners on two wheels. “It is ridiculous the way ATVs fly,” he stated.

“We need to have our own ATV ordinance,” noted Police Chief Tim Cecil, “something that would stop idiots but not regular people.” The chief said he could look back over the recently revised noise ordinance and see if something could be done about the ATVs through it.

While the city does not have its own ATV ordinance, the vehicles do need to be insured and have operating lights when used on city streets. “We need to stop them and see if they’re complying,” said Councilman Keith Nelsen.

Councilwoman Casey Corliss suggested council should look into closing the street, as the residents requested.

“Every time you do that you isolate another area in an emergency,” countered Fire Chief Larry Couch. “I think there are a lot of other avenues (to explore).”

Resident Greg Bever doesn’t believe the lane could be considered an emergency access as the area is often isolated when a train is on the tracks.

“It doesn’t benefit us, I’d like to know just who it benefits,” said Darrell Cecil.

Resident Teresa Thorn said she has lived there for 40 years and had none of these problems before the road was opened.

“We do have a really serious problem,” said Bever. “We’re just frustrated and fed up. You get so aggravated sometimes.”

The residents claimed they have often called the New Martinsville Police Department and issued complaints, but they don’t see much follow up. Councilmembers suggested every resident of the area call the NMPD every time there is a concern so it is documented.

Further, Thorn voiced her concern over a vacant home in the neighborhood. It has been empty for four to six months, she said, and the weeds are knee deep. Of an even greater concern to her is an open ditch four-feet deep. The home’s doors are open and she is concerned about the safety of children and animals.

“This isn’t the only dilapidated property,” noted Thorn. “Brooklyn has been neglected for too many years.”

Building inspector Joe Hanna said that while there are dilapidated buildings all over New Martinsville, this particular area is saturated with them.

“I get really upset when I see lovely people living in conditions they should not have to,” said Mayor Lucille Blum.

Council asked the residents to come to September’s meeting, to be held Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m., to give an update on the situation.