by Sherry Gros
Freelance Writer for Highland Park
Highland Park neighbors reveal last night to old sherry gros that the Defendants from the HOA have spoken to Mobile County Engineer, Bryan Kegley, P.E. and Neal Howard, Deputy Public Works, Mobile County, recently who told them “The Dam is Private.” The HOA take away on that official comment from the county is this, “THE COUNTY IS NOT GOING TO HELP US FIX OUR DAM. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO SO.”
This kind of hysterical rhetoric as publicly reported on social media is typical of the HOA and how they come to their solutions to what they perceive to be their problem and how they “fix” it. Then the readers of the rhetoric react to the comments for a period of time until such a lather is created that a storm trooper mentality is created to “save the lake”. It was the way Arlene Davis decided to drain the lake on Oct 6, 2019 laying it to waste back then to the shock and dismay of many. Arlene had revealed she got nervous about social media comments a few days before, nervous about old sherry gros challenging their reports and authority. She stated “Sorry we drained the Lake without a meeting but with the legal stuff going on we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to get to see what the problem was if we didn’t hurry up and drain it now [sic]” So, it’s that kind of hysteria and knee jerk reaction that drives the decision making of their present day HOA.
Which brings me to another point. The HOA doesn’t own the property. So it is very easy for public officials to say to anyone “The dam is private.” In other words they are telling the caller “You don’t own the dam.” Old sherry gros does know who owns the dam and has structured the HPca to be the authorized agent to consult with public agencies regarding street drainage per HPca articles of incorporation. The HOA Defendants have enjoined her through the Court from doing so, stating she cannot do anything of a Corporate nature. Therefore, the county is not in the least bit concerned about anyone from the HOA calling them. However, when the time comes and the owner of the dam holds the county’s feet to the fire to uphold their responsibility under Federal and State Law; the response from the County will not be “The Dam is Private” it will be a different response that will probably come from the County Attorney Linda Baker.
A good example of what we are experiencing is what a good number of residents in Highland Park have experienced on their own properties in recent years. Go speak with Highland Park homeowner Eric Dejong. Ask him how he got the County to come in and repair the wash that was cutting through his yard and tearing down his garage as it washed from the uplands, through his yard, into Optimist Lake. Eric and his neighbors have first hand experience with this issue. The County did not do him any favors. The County simply knew they were responsible for the problem and they fixed it with as little money as they could get away with and let Mr DeJong maybe believe they were doing him a great favor by chipping in for “his repairs”. I don’t know ask him.
Another example of what we are experiencing is this, You call to schedule cable installation on your home. The first thing they will ask you is “Do you own the home.” If you say no then they will say you need to have permission from the owner to install cable at that location. Same with the County when they tell you “The Dam is Private.” they are saying in essence the same thing the cable company is telling the guy who wants cable installed on a property that does nto belong to him. So, the County is correct when the HOA calls them and they say “The Dam is Private”. Public agencies also expect that when they tell the HOA “The Dam is Private” that the HOA will walk away dejected with their head down and tail dragging. Which they always do. The HOA is a fail as far as the dam is concerned.
Old Sherry Gros wants to take the winning approach all the way to the finish line regarding dam rehab. Hers is the only approach that can entirely fund the project to rebuild the dam. Those monies will come from grants, private, county, city, state and federal. The sooner we can begin the better.
Below is a snippet of the conversation from the HOAs social media group. My sources remain striclty confidential. So please don’t ask. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post here.
UPDATE on the Lake: No word from the judge today. Mrs Gros filed a motion yesterday in an attempt to block us from conducted the repair to the face of the dam. Hopefully we will here something from the judge on Monday. Below is an excerpt from a correspondence between me and the Mobile County Engineering and Public Works department. Read it for yourself, but what we take from it is, THE COUNTY IS NOT GOING TO HELP US FIX OUR DAM. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO SO. During my conversation with him, he also stated that we need to repair soon or risk loosing the entire dam.
COUNTY ENGINEER correspondence:
After some internal discussion with the Deputy Public Works Director, this is a private dam and is privately maintained. Therefore, the county has no jurisdiction on this matter; unfortunately an onsite visit from us would not help resolve any issues at this point. Also, there do not appear to be any issues on Pine Run Rd due to the outfall of the private pond. The public works department appreciates you relaying information about potential drainage issues and will continue to monitor the situation as it affects the county roadway system.”