Don’t vote to close a public road ‘just in case’

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I am writing this to the landowners and the voters of Troy and Pike County. We, the landowners and voters of County Road 7717 would like to let everyone know the facts of the “just in case vote” because this could happen to you. These are the facts from the commissioner’s meetings as of February 26, 2018.

To Lockheed:

The company confirms there is nothing on the table in the way of job announcements. The request is being made just in case the defense contractor wins another huge contract from the Pentagon.

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To taxpayers, landowners and voters of County Road 7717:

1. Lockheed said the road closing could bring in up to 150 jobs. Then Lockheed would be maxed out; no more room for jobs. That’s it.

2. They first said the employee entrance gate would be put on the Bozeman property line. Now that they know we are against it, it’s going around the corner. Their facts keep changing. Keep in mind that if the road is closed, they can put it anywhere they want, back on the Bozeman property line.

3. They have very childishly, repeatedly made fun of the Historical Henderson Hunting Lodge. It doesn’t matter if all Henderson has is a tree house. It’s his and his right to protect his investments, as we are all trying to do and have the right to.

4. Lockheed said they have 150 people to visit each month. Keep in mind Lockheed has their own lodge on the place. They say these people stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and buy gas as if they are supplying a tremendous amount of revenue for Troy. Keep in mind that a great deal of their employees don’t even live in Troy or Pike County. They live in surrounding counties, shopping their home towns.

5. In 2016 there were 19,191 people shopping in stores buying groceries, feed for livestock, kids in schools, doctor’s appointments, farming equipment bought, ect. We the landowners and tax paying voters spent our money in Troy hourly, daily, and all year, not just when people come to town. Over 30,000 people living in the county spend their money daily.

6. Lockheed gets a huge tax break for ten years on every new building they add, per building, up to one billion, no tax.

7. They are now building the biggest nuclear bomb in the world. They have a total of 3,863 acres of land, 545 acres of it on the south side of the road, closer to Troy – more than enough room to build on without closing the road. Do people really want to allow Lockheed to be given the power to close roads while moving closer into the backyards of the Troy citizens where we are raising our families and children? Lockheed talks about a 1,250 foot safety perimeter. If a bomb blows, 12 miles is not going to save Troy, or anything else, in all directions.

8. The bigger they grow, the bigger target it puts on them in time of war, in our backyards.

9. It’s not the bombs that save people, it’s the men and women on the front lines fighting to keep our freedom. That’s who deserves the credit and the praises, not the bombs that they build, as Lockheed implied.

10. If the road closes, Lockheed will benefit millions by not having to build a road for their entrance, a 2.7-mile road, and 32 acres of extra land down the sides of the paved road. This is financial corporate greed.

11. The state of Alabama built the road, then gave the road to Pike County so all could benefit from the road, not just Lockheed. If the state built the road just for Lockheed then they would have given the road to Lockheed, but the state did not.

12. County Road 7717 has been a public road for 150 years, before Lockheed came along according to the farmers who use it daily.

13. Lockheed stated at the commissionmeeting February 26 that if they did not get the road closed they would definitely find somewhere else to build. The smartest thing they have said yet. They cannot guarantee they will get anymore jobs. At least our families would be somewhat safer.

14. The closing of the road will drop our property value. Why? Who will want to look at a gate entrance that’s lit up all night, shining in your windows, when you live in the country? Keep in mind if the road closes they can put the entrance anywhere they want. It will be closing accessibility down to just one way in and out to properties, the more accessible, the more valuable. The employee traffic will be backed up in front of the entire road footage of the Bozeman and neighboring properties during shift changes around the clock. Lockheed employees already speed through the small trailer park hitting and killing their dogs and cats while they are using their nice back entrance. They want to put the school bus route in the middle of all the traffic. It could be a small child they hit next.

15. Troy is growing fast with the new gun manufacturer, Publix, Pet store, sawmill, shops, and places to eat. These companies and businesses are not trying to close any public roads but if Lockheed is allowed to, then these companies have the same right to close roads and they may actually have a real reason to, unlike Lockheed, just in case – not a reason.

16. If the commissioners close 7717 they are opening up what could be a big can of worms. Landowners all over the county or city all will have the same right to have a road closed and gain from the public dirt or paved road and the property along the sides of the road for their own ownership.

17. We have great confidence in our county commissioners that they will see through Lockheed’s smokescreen and find for the taxpaying landowners and voters to keep public road county 7717open. Allowing everyone in the county to benefit from the use of the road as it was intended by the state and Pike County.

In closing, we the people of County Road 7717 are not against more jobs. We are all for them, just not the taxpaying landowner’s expense in anyway. The road itself has nothing to do with getting jobs. It can stay open and continue to be used by Lockheed and the public as it has been for years.

The road does not have to be closed for the “just in case vote”

Darlene Lee