What two weeks ago seemed a foregone conclusion was voted down Monday, as commissioners elected not to close the northern half mile of Chisholm Trail Rd. between 300th and 310th Rds.
Commissioners were leaning the other way two weeks ago when Gayland Martens dropped by in advance of a public hearing to voice his desire to see it closed.
After the hearing shined a light on citizens interested in keeping the road public, commissioners changed their tune somewhat and agreed to view the road. They did so Monday, and concluded the road would be worth maintaining.
“We like to keep our roads open,” Commissioner Randy Dallke said. “Every once in a while we have closed some, because of a bridge somewhere, or if it goes through a pasture and there’s no sense in anybody being out there, we shut it down. This didn’t fit any of that criteria, so we kept it open.”
Martens said he and one other person, Dale Christiansen, used the road, and that both agreed it should be closed off. However, several residents of the area said they used it to access their pastures. Representatives of Rural Water District No. 1 said they need it to access potential maintenance sites.
“Anybody who owns land nowadays, their mentality is ‘It’s my ground, you stay off it,’” Dallke said. “I don’t like that attitude. I’d like for other people to be able to see it.”
The road is currently closed, as a damaged bridge keeps it impassable. Initially, commissioners were concerned about the cost of repairs, but after looking at the bridge with Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford, the perspective changed.
“It just didn’t look like that big a deal,” Dallke said of the damage.
Crawford expects the bridge to be repaired within approximately 60 days, at which point the road will be opened.