ARLINGTON (CBS11) – The bright yellow sign, on a fence along Highway 287 in Arlington is meant to grab anyone’s attention.
Unlike billboards, or business markers though, this one is on the fence of a home along the highway. It reads, “Caution, West Nile habitat, compliments of city/state, $0.00 tax dollars at work.”
The sign, is compliments of Angela and Gary Holland, who said they have spent years trying to get someone to clean out the storm drainage ditches that border two sides of their property.
Filled with knee high grass, trees and trash, storm water that flows in from the opposite side of the highway, eventually becomes stagnant. Mosquitos breed easily. Snakes and rats have found an inviting new home.
After years of email chains, phone calls, and promises of work soon to start though, Angela Holland said her husband put the sign up this spring, out of “sheer desperation.”
“The mosquitoes are so bad, I mean they literally run you outta here,” she said.
On the private side of the fence, the Holland’s back yard, they’ve created a tropical retreat. The pool, palm trees and bar don’t get a lot of use though. The Hollands can last maybe an hour, before the bugs start to be too much.
“The state argues with the city,” she said. “The city tells us, ‘No it’s not our responsibility.’ The state says ‘Well, I don’t know how much of that is ours’.”
Monday, a TXDOT spokesman said there is a project planned to clean drainage ditched along 287 from Interstate 20, south to Ellis County. Originally planned for the fall, the contractor may now start within the next two weeks.
The City of Arlington was looking into the issue as it related to storm water management outside of TXDOT’s right of way.
There was some confusion about ownership of the drainage in question, and management as it related to use as a storm water area wasn’t immediately clear.