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County OKs plan to gate rural road

County OKs plan to gate rural road

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The Scott County Board of Supervisors on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution to downgrade to “C” status part of Seven Sisters Road, also called 100th Avenue, where the body of a homicide victim was found earlier this year.

The vote came during its regular meeting and means that the road essentially will be closed to the public.

Now, gates to a portion of the road between Telegraph Road and West Locust Street may be erected and no trespassing signs put up.

“That hopefully will keep people from driving over my $8 beans and $4 corn,” said farmer Jerry Boldt, who farms most of the land out that way, and whose ancestral farmstead is located on Seven Sisters Road.

Over the years, he said he has pulled out vehicles stuck in the mud of the fields or in areas where they should not be taking a vehicle, often at 2 a.m., “people and their girlfriends.”

Kids have driven into his fields, and people have dumped garbage and other unwanted items along the roadway, he added.

“It was just a matter of time before one of three things happened,” Boldt told the five-member Board of Supervisors. “There either would be a head-on collision because it’s a one-lane road, or we’d find a meth lab out there, or we’d find a body.”

A body is what Boldt and his son found Jan. 13. The burned body belonged to 41-year-old Angela Marie Hennes, 41, of Davenport, whose murder remains under investigation.

Scott County engineer Jon Burgstrum said that landowners in the area would have a key to the gates. He added that it is doubtful people would be able to go around the gates given the natural obstacles, such as a creek and trees on north end and a berm on the south end.

“The county may have to go in there from time to time and repair ruts because they can get so deep, but 99 percent of the road’s maintenance will be done by the landowners,” he added.

Boldt said that several years ago, a few people tried to get the road’s status changed from a “B” road to a “C” road.

Advance Homes, which owns a 400-acre tract along Seven Sisters Road, opposed the idea in 1997, he said. “And we didn’t have enough signatures to get it done.

“But when that woman’s body was found everybody was more than willing to cooperate,” Boldt said.

There was no word Thursday on how long it will be before the gates are erected.

The board also unanimously approved a contract with The Schneider Corporation of Indianapolis to create a Web-based Graphic Interactive System, or GIS, map for the county.

“This system will help the county in many ways,” said Scott County Administrator Ray Wierson.

“It will provide a whole lot of data that can be put graphically in map form so we can plot high crime areas, business routes, just about anything we want.

“It will aid in all levels of government and business,” he said. “It will be Web-based and have virtually unlimited layers of information to work with.”

He said it is unknown how many businesses looking for a place to locate may have passed over Scott County because they could not see how the area looks now, and how any changes — such as the re-zoning of an area — would affect the region.

Jeff Corns, vice president of Schneider, said production of the GIS would take about 16-18 months.

“And it is worth it,” he said. “GIS is a very powerful economic development tool.”

He said the company will be in touch with the proper county officials to set up a time to start as soon as possible.

The board also unanimously passed the $72 million 2008 fiscal year budget.

Thomas Geyer can be contacted at (563) 383-2328 or tgeyer@qctimes.com.

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