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Businesses planning repairs to pothole-riddled driveway

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A pothole is filled with oyster shells on the driveway adjacent to Cubbie's on March 16, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A pothole-riddled driveway that serves a major commercial hub along East Arlington Boulevard is scheduled to undergo repairs in about three weeks, said one of the business owners paying for the work.

Beasley’s Way is the unmarked entrance between Arlington Shoppes, which houses Cubbie’s, Steinbeck’s and the Spa at Merle Norman and Arlington Enterprises, the building that houses Crystal Connection.

The heavily used driveway also provides access to retailers in Arlington Village, Buffalo Wild Wings, Staples, Michael’s and other businesses located in buildings owned by BrodyCo., a real estate management and development company.

Using the entrance has become challenging in recent years because deep potholes litter the pavement near Arlington Boulevard.

While a couple of business owners attempted repairs in the past, attempts to find a permanent solution have been stymied because of uncertainty over who owned the driveway.

“I’ve been at that location 20 years, and for 20 years that road has needed to be fixed,” said Dean Barrow, owner of Cubbie’s. “I called the city to find out who owned the road or what they could do but they said (the city) didn’t own it.”

The question of who is responsible for maintaining the driveway and why it hasn’t been repaired has intensified in recent months.

During a March 8 Greenville City Council discussion about potholes on city streets, Councilman Rick Smiley said he receives questions about maintenance of what he assumed were private driveways along Arlington Boulevard. He never named a specific location.

Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan said his staff is researching what, if any action, the city could take.

“We’ve spoke to the owners of some of those buildings because they are very frustrated because in front of their building the road is very good but then there are oyster shells in some of the others,” Mulligan said.

Barrow has placed oyster shells in the potholes on Beasley’s Way in an attempt to fill them in.

On Wednesday Mulligan said his office had contacted property owners because of poor conditions of several entrances.

“We have spoken with several of the property owners and will be sending a letter out,” Mulligan said in an email response to several questions posed by The Daily Reflector. “They are three weeks away from addressing the potholes according to our conversations.”

Barrow said a number of years ago city officials told him that Jehu Taff, who owns the Arlington Enterprises building, was responsible for the driveway.

Taff didn’t own it, but joined with Barrow to pay for patching the potholes last summer. Meanwhile, the patches started failing, and following a week of subfreezing temperatures in early January the deterioration accelerated.

Business owners in the area grew anxious. Customers said their cars were being damaged.

Most people believed the responsible parties were the businesses that make up Arlington Village, a shopping center with more that 25 restaurants and retail businesses that launched more than 40 years ago.

Mike Robinson, owner of Robinson Jewelers and president of Arlington Village Property Owners Association, had three car owners approach him in recent months about repairing damage they said the potholes caused.

“One man had just bought a brand-new Audi. What do I tell him?” Robinson said. “I feel bad because people think this is Arlington Village.”

The association could not help the owners because it does not own the driveway.

Taff and Barrow said they, too, were contacted by vehicle owners seeking assistance in repairing damages they say the potholes caused.

“I’ve probably been hit the hardest on this, because my customers have been hit a lot,” Barrow said.

Robinson started researching property records to see if he could determine the driveway’s owner.

“If one person doesn’t come out here because of it, it hurts business,” Robinson said. “It’s definitely making us look bad.”

Robinson found the driveway was part of property owned by Barrow and the owners of Steinbeck’s and the Spa at Merle Norman, Frank Steinbeck and Debbi Justice.

“I hate to say it, but it was the best thing ever,” Barrow said. “Now that that I know we own it we can get it fixed. It’s also good to know four people will share the costs.”

Taff said he plans to cover some of the costs even though he doesn’t share ownership of the driveway.

“The thing about it is (the driveway) affects everybody out there,” Taff said. “In my opinion, because of the amount of traffic (along that entrance) it ought to be a city street.”

Barrow said after getting estimates from several contractors, the owners selected Absolute Pavement Service of Tarboro for the project.

“I felt good about him and his company,” Barrow said. “But with the bad weather, all the rain and the snow we’ve been having the last two months, everyone is behind, so we are looking three weeks out before they can complete the job.”

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.