Steve Akes, county engineer, reported Monday Drew Henderson is looking into building a new house on Ivy Avenue right in the middle of Mike Taylor’s two 5,000-head hog confinements. Why would he do that?
The Creston News Advertiser asked Drew Henderson that Wednesday and about his possible involvement in the hog confinements, but he declined comment. Henderson is the son-in-law of Dave Travis, and Akes said the Travis family is expected to help manage/run the hog confinements for Taylor.
Akes reported to the Union County Board of Supervisors in a public meeting Monday Henderson told him about his possible construction plans and asked for a cost estimate on upgrading seven-tenths of a mile near where he wants to build the house.
The upgrades to Henderson’s seven-tenths of a mile would help Taylor and his employees because it would allow them a more reliable route to and from his south hog confinement.
Akes told Henderson before ever fixing the seven-tenths of a mile correctly — from a level B to level A roadway — Henderson would need to garner signatures from 75 percent of the owners whose land touches that seven-tenths of a mile.
The seven-tenths of a mile includes a half mile on Ivy Avenue between 220th and 230 streets and one-fifth of a mile west on 230th. If Henderson is successful in getting 75 percent of the signatures, the road upgrades are estimated at less than $100,000.
However, there is a small bridge on Henderson’s seven-tenths of a mile that would need to be upgraded, too, if it were to serve as a route to a hog confinement, because it currently has a weight limit. Akes said at its current posted weight limit, most semis used in hog confinement operations could not travel on it. Akes estimated the cost to upgrade that bridge would be $50,000.
“I don’t know how serious Mr. Henderson is about this,” Akes said. “He has only asked for a cost estimate at this point, but from the looks of things, I expect something will start happening (with the hog confinements) this spring.”
But, fixing the seven-tenths of a mile and bridge correctly wouldn’t happen with a snap of the fingers either. The supervisors would have to find the money for their financial portion of the project then adopt the project into their construction plan.
All three supervisors have been on record stating they do not have a timeline for improving any part of Ivy Avenue because there are a lot of other construction projects in the county that were on the list for improvements before Ivy Avenue.
The hog confinements have been a topic of controversy in Union County, especially for the people who live near the hog confinements. Union County Board of Supervisors unanimously denied the hog confinements last June. However, that local vote had little significance because the hog confinements were later approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in October.
But, even though they’ve been approved, Taylor still needs reliable roadways in the area to get to and from the two sites near Ivy Avenue. Taylor is not currently on the board of supervisors agenda in the near future, but has been invited back to speak with the county supervisors.
Taylor could not be reached Wednesday or this morning for comment on this story.