Residents claim lake road wide enough for county care

Staff reporter

Marion County Lake residents Kevin Hoffer and Ken Vinduska aren't looking for trouble. They just want a road repaired.

The request was made a few weeks ago to the Marion County Commission. Unfortunately, the commission determined that the road was too narrow and the county didn't want to do it.

Hoffer wants to make sure the county understands the situation.

"We're not asking for Dan Drive to be repaired," Hoffer explained. "We're wanting Gilham Road improved."

Hoffer also takes exception to comments made by commissioner Dan Holub when he said there were railroad ties "blocking the road."

Here's Hoffer's side of the story.

When Hoffer and his family moved to 75 Lakeshore Drive in 1985, a driveway was constructed to the property. As development occurred north of the Hoffer property, the driveway was extended to provide additional access to those residents. Eventually, Dan Drive connected to Gilham Road, which provides access to Upland Road.

When the county implemented the 911 call system and all county roads were named, Hoffer's private drive also was named, Dan Drive, even though like many other roads at the county lake, it was never really intended to be used by the general public.

These days, many lake dwellers use the Dan Drive short-cut on their way to Marion.

In 2002, lake residents convinced the county to help with improving some of the wider access roads. Gilham Road was included in that plan. At that time, Hoffer was told by a county official that the county wouldn't pay for millings on Dan Drive because it was on private property. Hoffer was able to purchase materials from the county which were laid on Dan Drive, the same time Gilham Road was improved.

"We applaud the county for their efforts," Hoffer said. "It helped for a while."

It is now six years later, and Gilham Road needs attention.

Now here's the part that Hoffer wants the commission and others to understand about his private drive.

"I don't mind that people use the private drive (Dan Drive)," Hoffer said, but over time some drivers were abusing the privilege and driving faster than prudent.

So Hoffer built a dirt speed bump, as did Vinduska, Hoffer's neighbor to the north, to slow down the traffic. Unfortunately, some drivers didn't like the idea of having to slow down so they began to drive around the bumps. Hoffer and Vinduska then put railroad ties and large rocks on either side of the speed bump to keep motorists on the road.

"The railroad ties don't block the road," Hoffer said, pointing to a railroad tie in a grassy area.

There is a sign at the Lakeshore Drive entrance to Dan Drive that reads "Private Drive."

"That sign is there for liability purposes," Hoffer said, because of the speed bumps.

Vinduska, who moved to the lake in 1993, said he has a copy of a map that was produced by Marion County Improvement District #2 that indicates Gilham Road is 60 feet wide.

"The commission said it wouldn't repair the road because it didn't meet state statute requirements," Vinduska said. "I have a map that says it does."

The homeowners on Dan Drive have discussed closing the private road.

"We don't want to do that because we want emergency vehicles to have access to homes in that area," Hoffer said. "People need to be able to get through."

During the past eight years, Vinduska said he used his own tractor and equipment to repair Gilham Road. He said he did the best he could but now it's beyond his ability to repair.

"We don't want a new road, just some material, primarily to fill the pot holes," Vinduska said.

Hoffer said he wanted some material for Dan Drive, which he would be willing to pay for, primarily to fill one pothole.