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Somerville Progress

John W. Pinkerton


After finishing my essay on outhouses, I wondered, “What's next?”

As I was writing the outhouse essay, it dawned on me that I've covered that ground before---not a good thing.

While pondering, “What's next?,” I looked out the window at the street outside where a giant roller machine was smoothing the crushed rock into a pretty smooth topping: crap, how did I overlook this subject?

When I moved to Somerville over fifty years ago, the streets' condition at best would be classified as “adequate,” but through the years they have gotten worse and worse and…and even worse.

A few years ago, the newspaper guy after making his drop at our house, backed up, got out, and chewed me out for the conditions of our streets because it was hurting his back and killing his truck.  My response was, “Ya'll come back, ya hear.”

Well, about the same time, folks finally began to publicly complain, but when confronted with the fact that taxes might go up if the streets were improved, the squall went up from some that were adequate to make the local turkeys wandering our streets ask themselves, “What the heck was that?”

On November 3, 2020, a bond issue was passed, 1.5 million for street and sewage improvements.  Seems like a lot of money, but my mental pricing of stuff got stuck in 1970.  There are strong rumors of a few housing projects in Somerville’s future, so maybe the move-ins will help pay for the street improvements.

A little time before any activity on the ground began, but once it started, the most frequent question was, “When ya'll going to finish.”

I worked two summers on a state highway department survey crew.  We were also slow.  The highway nearby, FM 60, has been under construction for years and who knows how many more years it will continue. 

I don't know the overall plan; that is, I don't know which streets will be improved.  I'm not sure if anyone knows the answer to this question.  I guess it will end when the money runs out.  Seems sensible.

The work began on “School Street.”  Well, its real name is 8th Street, but everyone…well, almost everyone calls it school street because it runs by our schools.

In recent years past, when we turned off of HWY 36, a well maintained artery, onto School Street, I would usually comment, “Ah, I'm home,” indicating that I recognized Somerville by the rough treatment the potholes were giving me. Through the years the city has done a pretty good job of keeping up with the potholes, but after a while the streets just became one large pothole with a little street here and there.

Our home's street got a makeover several years ago so I haven't had any complaints about it although it too is pretty well scarred by potholes.

In recent years, Somerville hasn't had a lot to celebrate---our Dollar Store moved to a more accessible location and some locals opened a Sonic  Drive-in.  The street improvement, I'm sure, will be well celebrated…maybe even a ribbon cutting.  Wouldn't that be something?

And then, it's back to complaining...about something.