Recognizing a growing traffic problem at the intersection of Home Road and state Route 745, also known as Rathbone, the Delaware County Engineer’s Office has drafted plans to build a roundabout there in the near future.
However, construction of the roundabout will cost a property owner his 100-year-old trees, while the owners of the Wild Oak Market are afraid of losing their business.
Larry Dulin, owner of the property on the northwest corner of the intersection, said he is a descendant of the Revolutionary War soldier who settled Rathbone, and the property has been in his family ever since. He said if the roundabout is built, he will lose his 100-year-old cottonwood trees that stand in his front yard along state Route 745.
Dulin said the first notice he received of the county’s construction of a roundabout was a letter he received in the mail.
“I got a letter from the appraisers in the mail and that was it,” he said. “I was shocked to see it. I’ve been here for 39 years, and no one has talked to me about it.”
Dulin said the letter from the appraiser contained a technical drawing of the roundabout and the property he will lose to the county for the project.
“It shows everything they are going to take,” he said. “I called them, but no one has come to talk to me. I’m the only private citizen losing anything.”
Dulin said as soon as he got the letter, he talked to the Concord Township trustees about the letter and project.
Concord Township Trustee Bart Johnson, board chair, said the board has spoken publicly about the roundabout installation but has not taken a stance on the matter.
“We’ve made a public comment in our meetings but have never taken an official stance on the project,” he said. “We would surely encourage the county to move it to the south.”
Johnson said his main concern is for the bait store on the corner and how the roundabout would impact the young couple who owns it.
“The design will make it hard to get in and out of the store,” he said. “To minimize the impact to the young couple, we would look at donating the land on the southeast corner.”
However, Johnson said the township is growing, and so is the traffic at the intersection.
“It’s progress and for some progress isn’t easy,” he said. “I commend the county engineer for getting ahead of it.”
The owners of the Wild Oak Market, Josh Mabry and Chelsea Kirchberg, both from Kansas, said they purchased the business just a year ago and had heard rumors about the construction. When they followed up, they were told: “It was years and years and years off.”
Kirchberg said they had hoped there was enough time to establish the business and build their savings before the construction shut them down.
“When they do concrete, it’s during our peak season,” Mabry said. “It’ll kill us.”
Kirchberg said when Dulin received the letter in the mail, he came across the street to talk to them about it.
“They never contacted us, we contacted them,” she said. “Our issue isn’t necessarily the location. Our main concern is the construction. We don’t make any money in the winter. All our money is made in the summer, which is when they are going to be doing the construction.”
Kirchberg said that most of their customers are truckers coming from the quarry hauling gravel that will stop in on their way through.
“They’ll just take another road and won’t come down here because of the construction,” she said. “We don’t understand why they can’t do a stoplight.”
Kirchberg said the only person she talked with about the roundabout said a stoplight couldn’t handle the volume of traffic that the intersection sees.
“It doesn’t sound logical to me at all,” she added.
Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman said his office has been looking at the roundabout project for approximately two-and-a-half years. He said he has heard Dulin’s concerns in which he has looked at designs that could move the roundabout south but didn’t “know the significant cost in doing it.”
“I think his concerns are valid and I understand,” he said. “The township is growing, and we know it’s only going to get worse. We’re trying to address that. We’ve also heard from the drivers, and we can’t make everyone happy.”
As for the Wild Oak Market, Bauserman said his office looked at alternate designs to avoid taking down the building.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.