Road woes cause frustration for business owners

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Some Columbus business owners are up in arms over a dilapidated road causing more than headaches.

Two of the business owners on Belinda Drive spoke to News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles about their concerns. They say the hefty realignment tabs on their vehicles are adding up.

They also feel the city should pave the private road due to the thousands of dollars in property and sales taxes they pay to the city annually.

WTVM's cameras were there as city engineers assessed the situation on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

The big tires and huge pot holes are not making for a good combination for the business owners and their customers on Belinda dDive.

"Belinda has never been maintained by the city and it's just deteriorated over the years to get to the shape it's in now," stated Brad MacDonald, President of Woodcraft and Coachcraft.

Heavy trucks go up and down Belinda Drive everyday which is located in the old industrial park in east Columbus near Morris Road.  We saw a big rig reeling and rocking along the stretch.

"We have coaches that are over a million dollar coaches coming in for work and when people come down a road like this... they don't want to leave their coach here and it's not a good feeling," added MacDonald.

Randy A. Prather helps his dad run their building and remodeling company on Belinda Drive.

"I'm hoping the city will step up and fix our road so that we can access our business and the customers can access our business," Prather said.

Prather and MacDonald say Councilor Pops Barnes is working diligently with them to resolve the matter. Barnes met with the business owners Monday night to hear their concerns firsthand.

"I can agree with that... if you've ever driven on it, it's like an obstacle course and my concerns are questions," explained Barnes. "When Jacqueline Drive was incorporated why wasn't Belinda Drive, that's one and where any of the merchants really even asked if they wanted to have it done, thirdly, their contention, the fact that we pay enough property and sales taxes over the years, why can't the city do it and fourthly, what do we need to do to get it incorporated on the city map."

Jacqueline and Belinda Drives intersect. The city took responsibility for Jacqueline Drive decades ago under a City Petitions Fund that no longer exists, according to Deputy City Manager David Arrington.

He also released this statement: "We are aware of their concerns. It's a private street and we are currently in the process of assessing the street, looking at the situation to work with the business owners.

Belinda Drive is about 500 feet, less than half the size of Jacqueline Drive. The group of business owners will take their concerns to city council next month.

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