Upgrades needed on Chestnut Street

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Spread the news! The mountains of leaves were finally picked up on Chestnut Street in Tryon! Now we can see the ditches and potholes to avoid.

I was speaking with a long-time resident of Tryon recently, and he told me that he remembers when he was in high school riding his bicycle down Chestnut Street for fun. It was a fun obstacle course for him, trying to avoid the potholes as he swerved back and forth on his bike. He is now retired, so not much has changed on Chestnut since those many decades ago. We still have Chestnut as an obstacle course, although I doubt anyone today considers it fun.

Another resident, who used to be on the town planning board, indicated to me that funds had been allocated to fix Chestnut in 2009 but were subsequently used for other purposes (e.g., pet projects).

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We don’t need it to be pretty, just safe! Besides the numerous potholes and piles of leaves and debris that must be navigated while driving down the street, you must also be careful not to fall into the huge ditches that line the street. Someone unfamiliar with the condition of the street could accidentally drive into the ditches, sustaining serious injuries or death. What would follow is a lawsuit against the town for negligence. Of course, no town employee or representative will be held accountable for negligence. We, the taxpayers, will have to foot the bill with higher taxes. We don’t need a fatality before something is done.

The ditches are actually not there to carry water. The ditches are only on some sections of the street. In the other areas, the street is flat on both sides. So the ditches actually make things worse because they fill up due to culverts being plugged with leaves, which in turn makes the rainwater go from side to side down the street. Since ditches do not carry water and are dangerous, why not just fill them up? At least no one will get killed if the car swerves to the sides. I doubt it will cost more than $1,000 of gravel and a few bags of pothole filler, and the problem could be ameliorated.

The previous is not a solution for Chestnut; it’s cheap insurance to mitigate the scenario described above. The actual solution requires a plan, with a real timeline, to actually fix the street after so many decades of neglect. And for that, we need people who actually care about Tryon’s residents.

In the end, I think what we really need is an oversight board, like those in other towns, to monitor where our taxes are being spent—on line items, not pie charts. We can’t accept “we don’t have money” as an answer.


Al Alberto