Centreville residents say they're frustrated that the town is pocked with potholes, but Mayor Mark Jackson's street and a few others are newly paved.
Craterlike potholes in front of City Hall hold standing water that residents must step around when getting out of their cars. One resident says the potholes in her neighborhood are so bad that people drive up on her lawn to get around them.
"People are driving in my and my brother's yards trying to avoid the potholes," said Irma Harris Dale, who lives in the 4300 block of Trendley Avenue. "They are driving up into the yard near my hedges. I don't like the situation."
The same thing happens on Lakewood Place, just outside of Centreville, where huge school buses and trash trucks can be seen driving up onto private property to dodge potholes.
Dale said she has tried to complain to city officials, but her concerns have fallen on deaf ears. "The mayor is only concerned about himself and his friends," she said.
Repeated attempts to reach Jackson for comment were unsuccessful.
One resident, who asked that she not be named, citing her safety, said she spoke to the mayor a few months ago about the condition of the streets in her neighborhood.
"He needs to come out and look at our streets. He will see all of these holes down here," she said. "It's been like that for about three years."
Another woman expressed similar concerns.
"Every day I am fearful of tearing up my car and causing myself repair work that I can not afford. It's unsafe, too," she said. "The mayor needs to do something about these streets in Centreville with these potholes everywhere."
City Hall unresponsive to the problem
No city officials could be reached to talk about the pothole situation in Centreville for this story. It was not immediately known how much the city spends each year on street maintenance, where the money comes from and who decides which streets get attention first.
A large portion of the citizens' anger was directed toward the mayor, whose street in the 4900 block of Tudor Avenue appears to have been repaved.
One man, pointing to a long row of potholes on Piggott Avenue, said he is upset over the lack of concern for residents.
"We put these elected officials in office to take care of us. It sure looks to me like they don't care about us. I am tired of dodging potholes to keep from busting my tires or doing front end damage to my car. There are so many that you can't dodge them all. It's just ridiculous," he said.
A BND reporter drove through the city and observed numerous potholes, mostly in residential areas. Main thoroughfares such as Bond Avenue appeared to be well-maintained. A U.S. postal truck driver was seen bobbing and weaving around potholes to deliver mail to residences. When asked how he avoids them, he simply said he knew his area well.
Resident Gregory Knuckle said Tulane Terrace was paved between five and seven years ago.
"But, that paving only lasted a year before it began to deteriorate. Pearl Avenue was not completely repaved. It's in bad shape. Two years ago Tulane Drive was repaved, and last year, the street where the mayor lives (Tudor Avenue) was repaved after there was a large water main break or sewer break in the area."
Officials with the Commonfields Water District said they had no record of a water main break on Tudor where the mayor lives. And, office manager Sharlin Pfeffer said she had nothing to indicate that the water company paid for any repaving work on Tudor.
Asked what his feelings were about the potholes on the streets he has to drive on, Knuckle said, "I ain't happy about it. The city has put down some cold patch and just let the cars drive over it and pat it down. When it rains, some streets flood. When some streets got fixed, there were some like Pearl that didn't get fixed. If you are not careful when we get heavy rains, you're running a risk of sliding off the road into the ditch. There's no concrete curb down there."
It's unclear who's responsible for patching potholes in Centreville. Residents say you're supposed to complain to your alderman or City Hall, then hope someone responds.
"I understand that Centreville has modest means and does not have the resources like others in the county," Knuckle said. "We still deserve to have decent roads around here. We all pay taxes and certain things we need, like infrastructure, roads, street signs. Centreville certainly is responsible for roads and signs. They should come out and fix these streets and anything else they are suppose to do as a governing body.
"It's no secret that the roads are in pretty bad shape. If they have the money, they ought to do it right the first time. 50th Street and Bond Avenue are in pretty good shape. You never see any potholes or serious issues there. But citizens deserve the same kind of maintenance" in their neighborhoods, Knuckle said.
However, a reporter observed deep potholes in one section of 50th Street near the horse stables.
Irma Dale said her section of Trendley Avenue has been in bad shape for a couple of years since Commonfields Water installed a fire hydrant there. She said City Clerk DeMario Helm told her the city attorney was contacting the water company to see that they came back out and fix the street, "but that never happened."
"And, the potholes have gotten worse," Dale said. "As taxpaying senior citizens , we deserve better."
Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503, @carolynhendri18