Alley gates to be subject of future work session

During last week's Winslow City Council meeting, Councilwoman Sue Bumpus asked about the policy of fencing off the alleyways. A few optional ideas came-up, but the item was tabled for a further date to allow for more discussion.

City Manager Jim Ferguson said they could be looking at the fence issue in terms of its effectiveness of solving any of the problems it sought to solve originally.

As a personal statement, Ferguson said that when he first came to Winslow the sight of these fences shocked him.

"I do not think that it sends a good message to peopleŠ I'm not sure if it is sending the right message to us as a city government," he said.

Previous council and administration in Winslow had established this policy in response to property owners' complaints about intoxicated street people hanging out or passing by behind their properties in these alleys. Complaints came from the public's concerns over safety, disturbances at night, broken glass and defecation in these areas mostly behind homes.

Those who own property adjacent to segments of alleyway have to unanimously agree to want the alley closed before the City will spend money to have it fenced off.

Marie LaMar spoke to the issue saying that the adjacent property owners of closed alleys are not being responsible for cleaning up the weeds and trash that are accumulating in these areas.

Ferguson said he spoke to a local who said that for about the same price the city pays for the current chain-link gates, they would make a more attractive cast-iron gate.

"It would improve the look, but does it address the issue by wanting to keep people that are not wanted, out of certain areas of the community?" Ferguson said.

Councilman Robin Boyd said that because the policy was made, the city at least has the obligation to follow through with those who has request made at this time to have their alleys closed.

But we also need to evaluate the situation and get some resolve because the issue of appropriateness always comes up every time someone requests that their alley be closed, he said.

Council agreed to have this issue comprehensively discussed at the soonest possible upcoming work session.

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