Salem citizens voiced their concerns at the April 19 board of aldermen meeting about three things they believe the city should address.
Lighting concerns at roadside park near N. Main St.
Mark Bottomley who lives in a house adjacent to the roadside park on N. Main St., came to address the board about lighting concerns.
“I would challenge any of you to go down to the roadside park after dark, park up by the Lifeway Center and walk that sidewalk that goes down across the bridge and circles around and comes out on (Hwy.) 19, where the crosswalk is. It is extremely dark,” he said.
Bottomley told the board that within the last year he bought and moved into the house adjacent to the park.
“It’s the darkest place I’ve ever lived,” he said.
Bottomley informed the board that his garage has been broken into recently.
“And the police have told me that they’ve chased people they knew were trespassing off the property as well,” said Bottomley. According to Bottomley additional lighting there would, in his opinion, not only benefit him but the people of Salem as a whole. Utilizing a PowerPoint slide, Bottomley proposed that an additional light be added to that route.
After the board listened to Bottomley’s proposal, Mayor Brad Nash asked Director of Public Works Mark Nash to look into the feasibility of installing the additional light that Bottomley suggested.
Safety or residential alleyway
Crystal and Ted Kiddy came to the board with concerns about the safety of the residential alleyway near the Salem Care Center.
“Constantly, people speed up and down the road every day (N. Jackson). I’m sure Greg (Parker) knows what I’m talking about, because he works on our road, too,” Crystal Kiddy said. Parker nodded, indicating that he was familiar.
“Nothing gets done with it,” said Kiddy. According to Kiddy, people have begun speeding up and down their residential alleyway as well, and according to her these speeding vehicles keep spraying rocks toward windows and cars.
“None of them have broken any windows yet,” she said. “But it’s been getting dangerous,. We can’t even have our kids play outside half the time because of the speeding cars.”
Kiddy said that it was especially bad in the morning and in the evening.
“Because when people get off work at Salem Care Center, they just want to get out of there and they come flying down the road,” she said. There’s a speed limit sign, but according to Kiddy next to nobody adheres to it.
Kiddy also addressed people parking up and down the alleyway.
“Is there any way that we could have some extra patrol in that area to watch for the speeders, especially around the time where they’re getting off work from the nursing home?” Nash asked Chief of Police Joe Chase.
Chase said that he would assign an officer to a traffic study for first thing in the morning and in the evening.
“I wasn’t aware that there was any speeding,” he said.
Chase also pointed out that if the city determines that the best course of action would be additional signage in the alleyway that an ordinance would be necessary for police to enforce those signs.
Concerns with neighbor
Teresa Stark told the board her neighbor, Herbie Bartlett, incessantly burns things that she says violates city ordinance. One example that Stark gave was that recently Bartlett had a stack of pallets delivered to his house, which he planned to burn.
Salem ordinance 210.560 explicitly prohibits the burning of lumber. The same ordinance also prohibits burning anything in town “in extreme wind or dry conditions as determined by the Emergency Management Director.”
Additionally, Stark indicated that Bartlett consistently plays “extremely loud music.” Stark said that she’s also concerned about Bartlett’s large dog, which according to her is never on a leash or penned in. “It just roams the neighborhood,” said Stark.
“I’m scared in my own yard,” said Stark. “Do I need to get a gun to protect myself in my own yard?” she asked the board.
Stark indicated that she has not been satisfied with police and city response.
“Police officers, highway patrol, anybody in law enforcement, they’re supposed to be protecting our citizens,” said Stark.
“Every call we’ve received from Miss Stark, we have investigated,” said police chief Joe Chase. “I have personally called every time that I have received a message through (Facebook) messenger and made a point to make a CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) for every call for service or complaint.”
Chase directed the board to city code (210.560). “It indicates what can and cannot be burned,” he said. Chase also indicated that the city nuisance officer has responded on multiple occasions and spoke with Starks' neighbor.
“There have been summonses issued,” he said, as well as corrective measures. “The approach we try to take is not one where we ticket people back to the stone ages; we try to give people an opportunity to correct the problem at hand. people are given, depending on the violation, a certain number of days to correct the various problems.”
According to Chase, the way the ordinance stands, it does not allow law enforcement to take a firmer stance against Bartlett than what they have already taken.
“We have enforced every ordinance violation that there is so far,” said Chase. Chase said that according to Bartlett’s landlord, he is under eviction, which is a civil law process beyond law enforcement control.
“The court process is catching up to them and efforts have been made to quell the complaints associated with Miss Stark,” Chase said.
Chase told the board that if the board wanted more strict enforcement, the wording on the relevant ordinance might need to be expanded.
According to Chase, even if they were to be able to expand Bartlett’s actions to a peace disturbance, as it stands now, “As long as the property owner is present to supervise the fire, there’s not really much we can do there.”
Alderman James addressed Stark, “We’re in the middle of the process, we’re just not at the end yet,” he said.