PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Neighbors living on Bayberry Avenue in Punta Gorda say, Hurricane Charley destroyed their homes and the road they have to drive on every single day. Six years later, their homes have been repaired, but they say the road has progressively gotten worse.
David MacPherson says when he moved to Bayberry Avenue 8 years ago things were different. "The road had no holes in it at all," MacPherson said.
Fast forward to today, "I've never been to the moon, but from pictures I've seen, it kind of looks like that," MacPherson said.
JoJo Johns says the current Aqui Esta Drive construction project has turned Bayberry Avenue into a service road, with heavy trucks only adding to the problem. "This is 'Punta Ghetto,' that is 'Punta Gorgeous,'" Johns said pointing towards Aqui Esta Drive. "And we're all paying the same tax dollars."
The potholes are so widespread, some neighbors have even suggested changing the name from Bayberry Avenue to "Moon Crater Ridge."
"We should call NASA," Johns said. "Maybe NASA could help us fix Bayberry."
Charlotte County Public Works Director Bob Halfhill says they want to fix it.
"We have Aqui Esta going in - our new road and bridge. We are not going to put a new main artery in there and leave the feeder roads in poor shape. Our problem is funding," Halfhill said.
How can they get it? Halfhill said they're going ask again in next budget cycle. Even sooner than that, they're going to see what funding is left once they've paid their bills. Halfhill is optimistic they should have some money left to dedicate to the streets.
"On the very short term, my maintenance and operations division will make sure the road is safe," Halfhill said.
Halfhill says they didn't have enough participation this past summer at M.S.B.U. hearings to get funding at the level they need to fix roads like Bayberry. He says their best chance of getting funding to fix county roads will come from residents' attendance and public comments at Commission meetings.