Anna Leaders fed up with DART right-of-way maintenance

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
Anna Public Works director Greg Peters is demanding answers from DART after the property they own along the railroad tracks has become overgrown and filled with litter.

The city of Anna is demanding answers from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) after multiple attempts to get the agency to clean up its train track right-of-way through the city have fallen on deaf ears. In a May 7 letter addressed to DART board members and staff, Anna Public Works Director Greg Peters said the city had reached the end of its patience, comparing the area’s current appearance to a junkyard.

“Frankly, we are tired of seeing employee after employee at DART pass the buck, or ignore us altogether. Our organization would not be able to have this level of dismissiveness – taxpayers would be calling for our heads,” Peters said in his letter, which included several pictures of the area in question. “This would not be acceptable in Plano or Richardson or Rowlett, so why is it acceptable to DART for their property to look like this in Anna? DART’s lack of basic property maintenance and responsibility is negatively impacting homes, businesses, and property values in our community.”

Anna Public Works director Greg Peters is demanding answers from DART after the property they own along the railroad tracks has become overgrown and filled with litter.

Peters cited multiple environmental violations that fall within the DART jurisdiction including an accumulation of trash and debris, overgrown weeds, erosion issues due to poor ground cover and unidentified chemical drums. He also pointed out that it appears no maintenance has been performed on Riggins Street or Sherley Road even though those streets fall within the DART right-of-way. There have also been ongoing issues with people parking trucks and trailers in the area against the city’s wishes, but apparently with the permission of DART.

“Since it is a DART right-of-way, our expectation is that DART handles this mess promptly,” he added.

In response to the letter, DART representative Matthew Lannon agreed to meet with Peters in Anna on May 21 to discuss the issues. Before responding, he said that he conducted a site visit during with he observed high grass, leftover project supplies, trash, clips, and stacked sticks of rail. As for the chemical drums, he said there were railroad “spike buckets.”

Lannon contacted freight rail operator DGNO to address mowing and cleaning up the area. He was told that the issues should be addressed “within the next two weeks,” which would be before sometime during the week before Memorial Day.