Workers ‘overzealous’ in clean up of Ash Grove waterway

In an effort to thoroughly clean a waterway in Ash Grove, workers hired by the city went too far in their duties and cleaned out private property not belonging to the city. The east and west running waterway that runs below Calhoun Avenue, was rife with trees and brush that snarled drainage during floods. Workers removed trees not only belonging to the city but also some belonging to now unhappy landowners who spoke at the April 1 Ash Grove Board of Aldermen meeting.
The issue was discussed for around 50 minutes during the meeting, and included pointed yet civil dialogue between Mayor Les Gardner and landowners Karen Gregory and Cinda Wand.
Wand, who has spoken in the past to the board about her passion for feeding stray cats in Ash Grove, read a verbose statement that included accusations of disrespect against a city employee and Gardner when dealing with her on the matter.
Gregory complained that the city had no right to even go on her property, let alone cut her trees. Gardner apologized to Gregory for the tree cutting and explained that the workers were “overzealous” and indeed went too far and shouldn’t have cut her trees.
“I’m apologizing for the guys cleaning too much. We can talk about what you want done to replace anything there, or clean it more thorough so your lot is nice and clean. We can talk afterward and discuss that if you want.”
As an olive branch, Gardner asked what Gregory wanted from the city to make things right, to which she replied she “hasn’t decided that yet,” but added that she is waiting to hear from her attorney and real estate agent, as the land is for sale.
Wand’s issue was not just with the amount of brush and trees taken from the waterway and its banks, but with the fact that the city, she claims, lied to her about the extent of their intentions. Wand claims she was lied to at least five times during the process.
“Outright lying to somebody on this, I’m not going to own that,” Gardner replied. “We were talking about what we thought was the best way to handle things to get the stuff done.”
In business during the meeting, the board voted 4-0 to:
- Refund Meon Cloud on her water/sewer account at 202 N. Tower;
- Start the process of replacing a box culvert on Brookside;
- Table a decision on a contract with Cintas;
- Approve paperwork to continue a pursuit of a USDA grant for the Ash Grove Police Department;
- Give Ash Grove Assembly of God permission for an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 13, at the City Park.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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