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franklin county times

Ward 4 neglected, candidate contends

By Staff
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE  John Nelson Jr. sits on a park bench in Ward 4, surrounded by water. Nelson claims the park and the needs of the people in Ward 4 have been neglected by incumbent Councilman Jesse E. Palmer Sr. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
March 28, 2001
City council hopeful John Nelson Jr. says incumbent Ward 4 Councilman Jesse Palmer Sr. has let Ward 4 fall into neglect, ignoring the needs of his constituents.
Palmer says Nelson does not understand the larger context of his decisions.
Nelson, an Independent, said Tuesday a drainage problem at a walking park is just one example of the neglect that occurs there. The park, located off of St. Luke Street, has historically been undermaintained and often underwater as a result of flooding problems that have never been corrected, Nelson said.
On Tuesday, water was standing in the park and litter dotted the tall grass surrounding its walkways.
Palmer denied the allegation, saying he has worked hard for Ward 4, including obtaining funding to build the park. Palmer said the park was not built to his specifications.
Nelson said Ward 4's problems don't stop with flooding, adding that there are numerous problems with ditches near people's homes. According to Nelson, these ditches are often not maintained properly by the city and are cluttered with natural and manmade debris.
He points to Jean Ruby Willis' situation as an example. A ditch near the elderly Ward 4 resident's home on Third Street has been eroding her property.
Willis contacted Palmer and she said although she believes he has tried to help, she has yet to receive any assistance.
Palmer said city officials have made good faith attempts to correct ditch and creek problems. He said city leaders have obtained $1 million to help complete another phase of the Gallagher Creek project, which addresses drainage and debris concerns.
Nelson says Palmer has been far too conservative in fighting for Ward 4.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.