JASPER — The southern end of NW 24th Ave. in western Hamilton County will not be closed.

The Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to deny the petition that would close 301.53 feet of the road.

Denise Shirey, who has accumulated lots on both sides of NW 24th Ave., was looking for the county to close the end of the road after encountering several issues. Shirey told the board that she has been dealing with issues of trash being dumped on her property and on her end of the road, as well as uninvited overnight campers whom she has made calls to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office about.

Beth Burnam, the District 1 commissioner, asked Shirey about her plans for the property.

“The lots are in the flood zone, they’re no good for anything but horse pasture,” Shirey responded.

Gina Waters Hartsfield, co-owner of the Waters farm that is roughly 137 acres and which butts up to the end of NW 24th Ave. also addressed the board, requesting the road stay open.

Hartsfield said that she and her sister, who co-owns the farm, would prefer not to lose the option of having the potential alternative access blocked off.

The board unanimously voted to deny the petition closing the road following Burnam’s motion, adding that she has had several people reach out to voice their displeasure with the idea of closing off the road.

Chairman Josh Smith also addressed concerns with roads — or one intersection — in the county. Smith said the intersection of SW 69th Drive, SW 61st Avenue, SW 59th Boulevard and W 59 is a dangerous intersection with a fatality already occurring there.

The intersection has a large, overgrown triangle mound in the middle of the dirt-road intersection, which Smith said is so overgrown and elevated that it has caused the area to be overly dangerous.

Smith said he would contact the road department to see what possible solutions they could devise for the intersection.

The board also heard that the renovations to the Hamilton County Courthouse are ongoing, with the completion of the tiles and carpet in the foyer of the rear entrance to the courthouse to be completed by the weekend, as well as window cleaning. The courthouse security system is being arranged to be shipped, as well as communications with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for the process of hiring two deputies to maintain courthouse security and operate the new security system.

Entry to the Hamilton County Courthouse will no longer be open to the public through the entrance located off of 1st St NE near the Tax Collector’s Office. The public entrance will only be available through the entrance located off of 2nd St NE, which opens to the Sheriff’s Office and the courtrooms. The change is due to the security system that all members of the public must clear prior to entering into the courthouse.

Kara M. Compo is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government and police. ​

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