Trucks curb the progress of drying corner
Published: Monday, January 12, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 11:27 p.m.
Maybe the only job more boring than watching paint dry is watching a concrete curb dry.
A group of prison inmates working for the Florida Department of Transportation would know. Three times during the past few weeks, a curb at the southeast corner of W. University Avenue and 13th Street has been squashed by tractor-trailers making a right-hand turn onto W. University Avenue.
DOT made two repairs during the holiday break, while students were out of town, to avoid causing traffic snarls. But over and over again, trucks kept running the curb, exposing rebar and posing a safety hazard to passers-by.
Then last week after the third attempt to fix the curb, DOT maintenance supervisor L.C. Goolsby and the group of inmates repaired the corner once again. Because the chilly temperatures slowed the fresh concrete from drying, they had to stand outside for six hours instead of the usual two to three.
"It's going to be a mess if we let them drive over this. I've dreaded this," a defeated Goolsby said.
"I guarantee there will be a No. 4."
He was right. The curb has since been damaged again.
The homeless crowd has gotten a bad rap for hanging up their wet laundry outdoors and driving away customers, some business owners say.
But ice rink owner Don Yontz said they're not so bad after all. He hired some of them to help set up and take down the portable rink, brought to the plaza during December by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs. "Frankly, they worked better than the people I got from the labor service," Yontz said.
A story had been circulating that homeless people were actually sleeping under the rink because it was warm from the machinery. Not so, Yontz said.
That's what one Golfview resident says of his neighborhood's decision to give the city a strip of land for a park years ago.
Gainesville Regional Utilities now wants to cut down a sweetgum tree in the park. The tree arches over a power line, and could knock down power lines and poles if it ever falls down, GRU says.
Dan Ward, a retired UF botanist who has written a book on Florida's champion trees, says the neighborhood's trees - many of which hang over power lines - give Golfview its special character. He has taken GRU's decision to the city's Tree Board of Appeals for a final verdict.
"The tree was there first. The power line was put underneath," said Ward, who moved to Golfview in 1960.
Had Golfview's homeowners association kept the property, GRU wouldn't be able to cut the sweetgum down now.
"Now, it's coming back to bite us," Ward said.
Sun staff writer Janine Young Sikes contributed to this column.
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