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Citizens in western Athens neighborhoods feel forgotten amid growth

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Major growth is happening in the city of Athens, but residents who live on the western side of town say they are being ignored and feel forgotten.

Residents say they live in one of the oldest communities in the city, yet, it is the most under-developed. Sewage, sidewalks, and flooding are just a few of the issues brought before the Athens City Council.

“We are one of the only neighborhoods still on septic tanks,” said citizen, James Parker.

Several mentioned that trees have not been trimmed in western neighborhoods and the flooding is out of control.

“When it rains it floods my yard out,” said another citizen.

They are also tired of seeing sidewalks placed everywhere but the west side.

“You said on the radio that you wouldn’t put sidewalks along Highway 127, but you are putting them everywhere else.”

Parker says neighborhoods in western Athens aren’t growing like the rest of the city.

“We want to grow with Athens but it seems like everything growing around us.”

Several neighborhoods are still on septic tanks and many want to join the city sewer lines. But, Director of Water Services Jimmy Junkin says it’s a complex issue.

“It is a real remote location. There is a sewer that passes by their community on Strain Rd. It is a large force main which doesn’t work well to connect well to residential homes.”

Junkin also says the price tag isn’t manageable...

“There are only 22 houses. If you start spending $300,000 to $400,000 dollars on a lift station... 22 homes, you can do the arithmetic on how much money that will be per house. It’s not an economic situation that is viable for those families.”

The council tonight promised the west Athens community to look at the entire area around Luke Street and Strain Road for a solution.

“You have got a commitment from us to take a look at the layout and see where it makes the most sense to tie in a sewer line.”

Members from Limestone county NAACP say they want to see a plan laid out for these citizens to better their current situations. A meeting with Mayor Marks was requested for this week and then a month from now to monitor progress.

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