The Jackson County Commission recently held a public meeting at the Bridgeport Senior Center.

Chairman Matthew Hodges explained the commission chose to forego their work session and meeting for the week to hold the public meeting.
Hodges stated, “There’s been a lot of discussion about County Road 98  [near Russell Cave National Monument] annexation. We wanted to come out and talk to the community. We want to know what the community thinks about this idea. Let us know what you think about this plan. Nothing is going to be voted on tonight, but we want to know what the community feels.”
Tommy Bryant spoke about the plan to annex a portion of 75 to 98, to go right to the Russell Cave entrance. Bryant explained that the petition is to bring in the road right-of-way down 75, off of 72. He stated that they were not  talking about personal property, only about road right-of-way. Individual home owners would have to petition the city to be taken into the city limits. The main thing is to provide police protection from the City of Bridgeport down 98 and 75, Bryant stated. “It would also give other people the option to come into or stay out of the City. Bryant explained that he’s heard rumors of alcohol sales, bars and night clubs. However, that is not true. “It would be a place for private venues, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. The major thing would be to bring police protection to the area,” Bryant said.
John Crownover stated, “I spent 20 years of my life defending this  way of life and this country, I don’t want to see a bunch of politicians give it away. I live in the country, and you’re not going to do anything to that road except annex in the ones that want to be annexed in.”
Darren Blizzard spoke and said, “I’m a deacon of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and a property owner of Mt. Carmel.  It’s understood that anyone can asked to be annexed, once the City of Bridgeport comes all the way out to the cove. There can also be liquor and beer sales out there. I am opposed to any kind of annexation out past what we already have.  I’ve been in all kinds of venues and I just don’t think we need any kind of annexation, and I think I speak for just about everybody in this community.”
Jake Blizzard stated, “I don’t want it annexed, I can’t see the point. I don’t see why you people are wasting your time up here with this meeting tonight.”
 Sheila Reed explained, “I love the cove, and we do not want that road annexed. Trash is pitiful on that road. If we get more things up in there, what’s going to happen? More trash added to the road sides?”
Another resident of the area, Robert Thomas, addressed the Commission and stated, “I live on County Road 98 and I’ve lived there since 1971. Law enforcement should have a record of how many times they’ve been called. Every time I’ve called them they’ve showed up.  There are 74 signatures on the petition who are against it. If it’s all about money, we can have private venues, and have a party, it’s not against the law to have a party, it’s against the law to go on that road drinking. What’s next?  It’s politics. I don’t want the City of Bridgeport out in my area.
Several additional questions were asked including, “It is my understanding that the city won’t maintain the road?”
Hodges explained, “We have been asked to maintain the roadway, that’s the only reason we are a part of this tonight.”
Commissioner Jason Venable stated, “If the City was willing to take maintenance of the road, we wouldn’t be involved.”
An unidentified citizen in the crowd questioned, “How can you take one person out of a whole community and because it’s what he wants, give it to him? All these other people don’t want it. I think it’s a shame that you even consider what one person wants just because he’s in with them down there, Livingston and all of them. Remember us. Remember the people here.”
Commissioner Tim Guffey stated, “The whole reason we had this meeting was because we’ve had calls for it and calls against it. We wanted to see what the people of the community wanted. We can’t just go by a few phone calls.”
The meeting ended with Guffey explaining that it is no advantage to the County, they do not receive sales tax and the Commission is only involved because the City of Bridgeport is requesting that the county maintain the roadway. 

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