More questions than answers surround Snellgrove Drive closure

mstucka@macon.comApril 20, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Alaska had the “Bridge to Nowhere.” Warner Robins has Snellgrove Drive, the road that isn’t.

For more than two weeks, local officials have been struggling with Little League Southeastern Region Headquarters’ decision to close Snellgrove Drive, which had connected Hunt Road with Cohen Walker Drive, Perdue Elementary School, Houston County High School and other destinations.

And while some of those same officials promised two weeks ago they’d offer some information about the closure later that same week, Warner Robins officials have stopped returning phone calls and aren’t answering emails and text messages. Little League’s spokesman pointedly refused to answer specific questions, including why the road was closed in the first place.

And still, the road remains closed.

Last week, Houston County officials offered documentation they say proves Little League can’t simply close the road. County commissioners took turns, one after the other, condemning the closure.

Public records show the Houston County Development Authority transferred the property to Little League Baseball Inc. for $10. Part of that transfer described the property “as shown on a plat of survey.”

At the bottom of that plat, signed in June 2009, is an acknowledgement that the owner “dedicates to public use forever all areas shown or indicated on this plat as streets, alleys, easements or parks.” Those easements include what’s called the Snellgrove Road Extension on the plat; different records title Snellgrove as a Road or Drive. Regardless of the name, an 80-foot road easement is marked on the plat, which county commissioners argued simply can’t be closed to public access.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms told The Telegraph two weeks ago that the city did consider Snellgrove Drive to be a private road.

“We’re working on it,” Toms said then.

Toms, whose son lives near the closed road, hasn’t offered a promised update and did not return messages left with his secretary and on his cellphone.

City Attorney Jim Elliott said in an April 4 email to The Telegraph that he would be able to offer information about the closure the following week. Elliott also did not return a phone call.

Little League spokesman Brian McClintock wrote in an email to The Telegraph that Little League was “working with local officials to ensure the situation is properly handled.” Asked specific questions by The Telegraph, including why the road was closed and whether Little League believed it had a legal right to keep the road closed, McClintock refused to answer.

“We continue to work with city and county officials to resolve the situation,” he wrote.

On Friday, as a dreary rain continued, water pooled up around the Little League sign along Hunt Road, which connects Lake Joy Road to Houston Lake Road. A regular public street sign marks the beginning of Snellgrove Drive.

Just feet away, a gate was firmly closed, marked with signs similar to those found on the other side of the headquarters complex. Each gate has a stop sign. Each also has a sign saying the road was closed April 3. Neither gate offers an explanation.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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