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Speeding vehicles concern residents

Lucretia Ferguson wants safety to become paramount in her neighborhood. And she's not alone.

Mrs. Ferguson, along with several of her neighbors from Lee Street, recently signed a petition asking that members of Thomson City Council install speed bumps to help slow down speeding vehicles in the area where a number of children live and play.

She presented the petition to City Administrator Don Powers during the city council's monthly meeting last Thursday night.

"We have lots of problems with excessively fast-traveling cars and trucks," Mrs. Ferguson said. "There are children that live on the street and we would like to have them around for a long time."

She explained that some of the vehicles that speed past her home are going as fast as 60 mph.

There have even been accidents in the neighborhood.

Brad Adams, another Lee Street resident, said one of his vehicles was hit while parked on the side of the street in front of his home. A house also sustained damages after being struck by a vehicle.

"We appreciate it (the petition) and we will take it under consideration," Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry told Mrs. Ferguson and the others attending the council meeting in regard to the safety issue.

Mayor Usry pointed out that such speed bumps cost about $1,000 and that at this time there was no money budgeted for such items. The mayor also pointed out that many signs would have to be purchased warning motorists of the speed bumps if they were ever installed. Those signs also would have a price tag affixed to them, he said.

In addition, Mayor Usry said such speed bumps would deter from the historical perspective of the neighborhood.

He mentioned the possibility of the residents themselves providing financial help to have the speed bumps installed.

At the urging of Mrs. Ferguson, Mayor Usry also said he and the city administrator would look into reducing the current speed limit of 35 mph down to 25 mph on Lee Street.

A separate group of residents, meanwhile, addressed city council members opposing an application for rezoning a residential lot to professional. The application request was filed by Kristen Francis, office manager for Dr. Daryl Wiley.

During a recent meeting of the city's planning commission, Miss Francis explained that specialists currently are coming from Augusta to service the Thomson area and there is a problem of inadequate space to accommodate them at Dr. Wiley's office. Property across the street, zoned residential, was available and purchased to provide the space for those specialists.

Elliott Fulmer, who lives nearby on Ware Street, told council members he was certain that Dr. Wiley had good intentions, but that he was concerned about the traffic increase. He also presented a petition signed by several area residents opposed to the rezoning.

"We don't want our neighborhood turned into doctors' offices," Mr. Fulmer said. "You're changing the whole look of our neighborhood. It looks like a doctor's office in a residential neighborhood."

Fred Guerrant, planning and zoning director, informed council members that the planning commission recommended approval of the request. Subsequently, city council members gave granted their approval, too. They also, however, stipulted that the property would revert back to residential if the property was ever sold by Dr. Wiley.

Thomson Mayor Pro Tem Alton Belton and Councilman John Smalley made motions to approve the zoning request. During the vote, Mr. Belton and council members Bud Lunceford and Bernice Brown voted in favor of the request being granted. Two other councilmen, Rev. Smalley and Jaye Jones, abstained.

Web posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009

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