Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 11, 2014

County leaders embrace road program

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County commissioners voted unanimously Monday morning to establish an “Adopt a County Road" program.

“We've been trying to keep the roads clean, and we've kind of hit a brick wall,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti explained to the commissioners court at a regular meeting held Monday at the county courthouse.

Learning about the program, “I was real happy to see the amount of participation – it's very, very simple,” she said. “Organizations and church groups, a group of citizens, even one or two people can adopt a section of the road and they're responsible for picking the trash up there.”

In fact, Pinotti added, “we've already got different groups just in the past week that have already contacted me for information (about this).”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation website, the original Adopt-a-Highway program began in Texas in 1985 and has grown into a nationally and internationally recognized litter prevention effort.

The Tyler Civitan Club was the first group to volunteer, adopting a two-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 69, and many other organizations quickly got involved with the program, the site states.

Interested organizations or individuals need only contact the county, and fill out a simple application, agreeing to clean they road they choose to adopt  – a two-mile minimum stretch, Pinotti said – at least four times a year during a two-year period.

Commissioner Kelly Traylor of Pct. 1 queried about the extent of liability held by the county.

“According to TxDOT, there's no liability at all by the county,” Pinotti replied. “Each group will have a leader, and the group leader is responsible to see that they have the necessary safety materials, and tell them to stay (in certain areas).”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood was not present at the meeting.

Also during Monday's meeting, commissioners approved a lease agreement that calls for dedicated office space for its public health department site at 510 E. Commerce in Jacksonville. The new space is located next door to the clinic.

Kay Hamilton, the business office manager for Cherokee County Public Health, explained that by law, “the policy is that our administration should be separated from the clinic, (thus the need for) the extension of office space.”

Pct. 2 Commissioner Steven Norton raised the question of the needed office space in Jacksonville when offices in Rusk would be more centrally located to county citizens.

Why not “make it more available for the people in the southern end of the county,” he asked. “That's my

problem.”

Hamilton replied that county health officials “are going to be working with Alto and Rusk with the two clinics (that will be funded through

a grant).”

She added that officials are working with Kathi Davis of the Alto EDC to get a clinic project launched, and that “we have two options here in Rusk, but I don't know which one we've decided upon.”

Workers plan to be in the Jacksonville office by March 1, Hamilton said.

Commissioners accepted a 2013 Racial Profile Report filed by Sheriff James Campbell but passed on action involving the creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone, agreeing additional time was needed to have all necessary information included before taking action.