Ahoskie to close streets in buyout area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

AHOSKIE – Reports of suspicious activity in an Ahoskie neighborhood wiped out nearly four years ago by the flooding rains of Hurricane Floyd has raised concern among town officials.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council, Town Manager Russell Overman suggested closing some of the streets in the affected area – those south and west of the portion of Memorial Drive that runs behind Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

The Town of Ahoskie has not as of yet taken control of that property, part of a state and federal buyout program. Currently, it sits in the hands of Hertford County, awaiting a final audit by North Carolina government officials before it is turned over to Ahoskie.

In the meantime, the streets in that area are owned and maintained by the Town of Ahoskie. Overman, in an effort to cut down on what he deemed as &uot;suspicious activity back in the buyout area,&uot; presented an idea to Council members in regards erecting barricades on certain streets.

&uot;Based on information I’ve received from those still living in or near that neighborhood, there seems to be a high volume of traffic, especially at night, in an area where there shouldn’t be that many vehicles using the streets since all the homes involved in the buyout program have now been razed,&uot; said Overman.

He continued, &uot;I can’t say exactly what’s going on back there, but it’s my guess there may be illegal drug activity or perhaps sexual encounters involved. With just a handful of homes left back there, there shouldn’t be a high volume of traffic. All the streets remain open and anyone has easy access to that area, especially in the Lakeview Drive and Edgewood Drive portions of that neighborhood.&uot;

From Memorial Drive south to the Ahoskie Creek (west of Pembroke St.), Overman’s map showed 11 houses currently occupied.

&uot;We must allow street access to the residents of those homes,&uot; noted Overman. &uot;We need to look at where and what type of barricades we need to erect. Hopefully this will help close off that easy access and eliminate the potential problems in that area.&uot;

Because the property is still not in Ahoskie’s hands, Overman suggested some sort of temporary barricades. He said that erecting permanent ones is not reasonable at this point because it remains unknown what will be done with the property.

&uot;I would guess that whatever we set up will not keep everyone from trying to enter that area,&uot; stressed Overman. &uot;But we need to do something before a potential problem area gets out of hand.&uot;

Overman’s suggestion included temporary barricades at the following locations:

Memorial Drive, just west of Lakeview Drive.

Stokes Street, two barricades on the portion west of the last homes currently occupied to the eastern corner of Lakeview Drive and another on the western corner of Stokes and Lakeview.

Camlin Street, two barricades, one on the western edge of the last occupied home west of Pembroke Drive and one at the eastern edge of the Camlin and Lakeview Drive intersection.

Lakeview Drive, one barricade at the southern edge of its intersection with Camlin Street.

Woodlawn Street, one barricade near the center of the block between Stokes and Camlin streets.

Overman added that access would be needed for town workers to maintain service on the wastewater plant lift station located on Edgewood Drive.

Following a brief discussion period, Council members approved Overman’s recommendation, contingent upon a meeting of the Buyout Property Study Committee where a decision could be made to permanently close certain streets in the aforementioned areas if not used for another purpose.