McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 10, 2012

Commissioners vote to leave road to 'fishing hole' open

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Pittsburg County commissioners voted unanimously against a deposition to close an old county road that leads to a popular fishing hole.

A decision which may lead to a lawsuit costing the county thousands of dollars, according to Jim B. Miller McAlester attorney who represents landowners who own property along side Low Water Dam road.
The vote happened Tuesday during a regular meeting of the commissioners at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. 
The meeting, usually held on Monday’s was rescheduled for Tuesday because of  Columbus Day holiday, a paid holiday for county and state employees.
Before the vote, Miller told the commissioners that if they voted against closing the road, they were not representing the county residents affected by the road.
 “All the landowners are here today and they all want the road closed,” Miller said.
“You are deliberately ignoring your ignoring your constituents.
Low Water Dam Road runs between private property and Federal property managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The road leads to fishing area, however vehicle access to the lake is prevented by a large mud hole.
“This road is nothing more than a worn out and washed out drive was that is not even passable to reach the fishing hole.” Miller said.
Commission Chairman Gene Rogers, manages District 1 where the road is located.
Rogers has maintained that the road has always been open and he said he was assured the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife that the land that is accessed by the road was set aside by the Corps for hunting and fishing.
Miller said the corps doesn’t have a standing to keep the road open and the county shouldn’t be spending tax dollars the road.
“You don’t have the money to keep the roads we use maintained how can you spend money on this?”
Bill Hughes who said he lives about a half mile from the road said he used the road for many years until it was gated off  by property owners. 
He said the road was closed for about eight years until the gate was taken down earlier this year.
He said although you cannot drive a vehicle to the fishing hole you can walk a ‘johnny boat’ to the site.
 “I used the road for 30 years,” Hughes said.
Property owner Dr. Don Riley said  he has removed an enormous amount of trash from his property because people who use the road. 
“The commissioners are showing a terrible lack of leadership in keeping the road open.”
Also attending Monday’s meeting was District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith and District 3 Commissioner Ronnie Young.
Pittsburg County Commissioners meet every Monday at 9 a.m. in the county commissioner’s conference room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.

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Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.