Anyone who tries to traverse Laurel via 13th and 5th avenues certainly can understand and appreciate Councilman Tony Wheat’s frustration with the speed at which those roads are being fixed. But we also must temper that frustration by always remembering the dire conditions those roads were in before. It also should teach future leaders an important lesson.
This problem did not happen overnight. Our street conditions were the accumulation of some City Hall inaction coupled with age taking its toll. Underneath the streets were a labyrinth of outdated water and sewer pipes. “Surgery,” as Mayor Johnny Magee said early in the road project, would be massive and complex.
The problems had been brewing for decades. But for myriad reasons, the proverbial can kept getting kicked down the street. Heck, it is not popular for a politician to tell those responsible for their re-election efforts to float a $10 million bond bill. That is exactly what was needed here, though: lots of money.
We applaud the mayor and council for realizing that the can could no longer be kicked. We urge residents to show patience for a few more months, no matter how frustrated you might get. It will be so much better.
Mostly, we hope this episode is used by future administrations to not let problems fester. Take a proactive stance and don’t just ignore those aches and pains. Ignore them too long and you will end up with another 13th Avenue.