By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
GROVE CITY —
Residents of Oakland Avenue have taken the log into their own hands.
Several residents went before Grove City Borough Council on Monday to inform the board about the removal of a log that ran across a portion of Oakland for decades, keeping out through traffic in the block between Madison Avenue and Oak Hill Drive.
Susie Lynn spoke about several 911 calls her father, Richard "Dick" Yard, recently made on behalf of his wife, Ethel Yard, who needed to be taken to the hospital - however, a couple of times ambulances arrived on the side of the log opposite of the Yard home, making the response time longer.
One of the calls required her to be air-lifted to a Pittsburgh hospital. The second time Mrs. Yard fell suddenly ill, "I was shook up so bad, I couldn't remember" Lynn's number," Yard said.
He did what any devoted husband would do: he put a chainsaw to the log and removed it piecemeal, which opened that block of Oakland to be accessed from either Oak Hill or Madison for an ambulance.
Yard said the log - which was like a utility pole - was "pretty rotten and in bad shape."
People at the meeting stated always remembering the log being across the road, but no one knew why or for how long. The borough didn't put it there, because that block of Oakland is considered private and owned by the residents, said solicitor Tim Bonner.
The resident-owned road is why Yard was able to remove the log; however, before taking action, he and his daughter made sure they checked with the borough.
Residents wondered why the street was private. The borough does not have to maintain the road, but plows Oakland of snow in the winter and removes leaves in the fall as a courtesy.
However, resident Robert Cowan felt it was "a very odd situation" that the street was considered private, he said. "Somewhere along the line there was a derelict of duty."
Cowan had written letters years ago to the prior borough manager about Oakland becoming a public street, but nothing had been done, he added.
Five years ago, it was estimated that it would cost about $95,000 to make Oakland public, said councilman Joel Bigley. That number has likely changed since, added council President George Pokrant.
That concerned Oakland resident Matt Jensen, because he and his neighbors would have to take on the cost if enough petitioned to make the road public and council agreed to it.
"We have a little bitty, fixer upper," Jensen said. "That would level us."
"It'd seem if it stayed private, no one would incur the cost," Bigley said, "and you can leave it the way it is."
Others hoped the borough would continue to keep it clear during the seasons now that the log is gone. Bonner said the public is not allowed to use the road unless invited by residents.
Yard only cared that the street was opened up, he added.
"Some argue about that but all they'd need is one kid dying and you can't get an ambulance in."
Published Nov. 24, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201A Erie St., Grove City.