Finally, someone appears to be listening to the complaints about Lisbons deplorable streets.
Motorists who drive through this town on a regular basis have been steering around potholes for so long they have them memorized and now know just where to drive to avoid them. They also know which streets to bypass altogether.
However, those who only travel through here occasionally are in for a rough ride and possibly even damaged vehicles from the huge craters which opened up this winter and still havent been repaired.
Yes, it was a tough winter and every town suffered from severely damaged roads. But most of them have dealt with this by now. Its August, for cryin out loud. Winter will be here again before you know it and Lisbon still hasnt fixed last years road damage.
The village has a DuraPatcher machine designed specifically to patch holes any time of the year, but both Councilman Joe Morenz and Center Township Trustee Joe Csonka say the employees do not know how to properly operate the machine. Csonka even offered the townships help in training the employees, but judging from the condition of the streets, no one has accepted his offer.
Thankfully, the county engineers office volunteered to do the paving work on Jerome Street, which runs past the fairgrounds, in time for the county fair which began July 28. The street had so many potholes that the village elected to grind it down to the original brick base in April, and had yet to resurface it by late July. If the engineers office hadnt stepped in the street probably would have remained in deplorable condition for fairgoers. How embarrassing for the town which is the county seat.
The village has purchased 416 tons of blacktop to date, and some holes have been patched, but obviously this hasnt been enough.
To be fair to the street department, it looks like their responsibilities to the village are widespread. Mowing, pulling and spraying weeds, cleaning up debris from the June 11 storm and repairing the pool, fountain and even a village hall bathroom have been among the duties performed this summer.
When you factor in that one employee was off for a month and others may have been on vacation during that period, it doesnt look like they have had much time for patching and paving.
Its not that the street department employees have been languishing, its just that an apparent lack of leadership has kept them from making street repairs a priority.
But now, village Councilman Morenz has stepped up and asked for authority to oversee the street department and fellow council members have granted his request, and not a minute too soon.
Mayor Dan Bing, who is one of two people, officially designated to oversee the street supervisor, unabashedly stepped aside to allow Morenz to do the job Bing should have been doing. Morenz, who previously wasnt even a member of the street committee volunteered for the extra duties because he saw that the job is not getting done and the situation wasnt likely to change.
The condition of streets, however, is just a symptom of the real problem afflicting Lisbon lack of leadership at village hall. This is evidenced by how quickly the mayor was willing to step aside and let someone else do his job.
Lisbon is a beautiful little town with much potential. Some citizens have put a lot of effort into beautifying and preserving the many old and historic buildings here. But how many people are willing to maneuver through the pothole-ridden streets to see what this village has to offer?
The residents and people who work and pay taxes here deserve decent streets. The fact that it is the county seat and citizens throughout the area travel here to visit our courthouse and other county agencies should have shamed the mayor into taking action, if nothing else.
But thankfully, Morenz has stepped up. We hope his efforts are able to make an impact in time for the Johnny Appleseed Festival Sept. 20-21, and if not by then, at least before the snow falls again.