Citizens asked Batesville City Council members Aug. 19 what can be done when individuals are not being good neighbors.

"I've lived on Depot Street for 47 years," said Helen Williams. Lately, "things have been happening that have been totally unacceptable .... (Residents) at the house on the corner have no respect for us. We deserve a little quiet."

"People are in and out of there constantly, and the police have been called. The property is not kept up. Trees are growing through the screen in the porch, and the porch is stacked up with stuff. The board of health needs to look into it ... (Also), underage children are submitted to all kinds of things."

"Early in July ... (a female living there) got arrested."

She stressed, "Things in my neighborhood are going downhill, and we need help."

Another neighbor, Andy Gutzwiller, added, "I live two houses further away (than Helen) .... There's nobody on city council who has to put up with what me and Helen put up with every day.

"The grass was 3 foot high until a few days ago. There's no glass in the front door, and there's a piece of plywood there .... There has got to be some kind of rules against this."

Police Chief Stan Holt pointed out, "If we're dealing with a situation where we can make a criminal arrest, we will."

He emphasized, "This is not just a police issue, it's a city issue because there are issues with taking care of the property."

The city's building department "has written letters (telling her to clean up the property), and I've talked to her several times" about this.

Member Jim Fritsch revealed, "Now that we have an updated ordinance (on nuisances), we have some skin in the game, and we can start fining" those who violate it.

City attorney Doug Wilson said, "I'll meet with the code enforcement people."

Fritsch promised, "We'll do what we can."


Member Darrick Cox announced, "I think we have a beautiful city, but the entrance ramps on Interstate 74 are grown over .... We need to find a better way to maintain the entrance to our city."

"This is something we need to fix if we're going to attract people and businesses."

Mayor Mike Bettice explained, "That area and surrounding areas are maintained by the state .... The entrance ramp onto I-74 eastbound in front of the fast food restaurants is a challenging case. When they built that years ago, it was built at an angle. The root system of the trees is what holds that hill up."

"I've had conversations with the state ... but we haven't gotten to the point where we've gotten an answer."

Cox reported, "It's not necessarily the trees, it's the grasses and weeds."

The mayor noted, "They have a contractor to cut the grass and do trimming, but they will probably say it's hard for the contractor to do his job because of the construction work that's out there."

Cox maintained, "We need to figure out something for a long-term fix."

Bettice noted, "The city, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Ripley County Community Foundation are working to come up with a better design to make that interchange look better .... The group has looked at different designs, but the big thing is money."


Diane Raver can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 220114.

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