For some "progress" isn't so appealing.
Sylvia Sasse enjoys the privacy the tree line provides along her McConnells-area property. She might lose that if the road is widened and paved. She also doesn't look forward to watching from the hill where her house sits as construction machinery churns the earth and lays blacktop.
"It's quiet here," said Sasse, who moved to York County from Los Angeles five years ago. "We're part of the country, and we like it that way."
That's why Sasse and some of her neighbors are fighting a plan to pave their country gravel road.
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Bookout Road, near Historic Brattonsville, is slated for paving as part of York County's 2003 "Pennies for Progress" 1-cent sales tax program, responsible for $173 million in road construction projects, including more than 20 gravel road projects.
"The money is in the bank" to get started on the $600,000 project, said Phil Leazer, Pennies project manager. But first, the county is trying to secure right-of-way permission from residents along the road. About half of the road's 40 or so residents have complied.
Dust and traffic
The road has "as much traffic as neighboring roads," said Joann Melton, who's lived on Bookout Road for more than 20 years and has watched as residents have multiplied and the traffic has increased.
"A lot of people use this road that don't even live on this road," she said, including school buses that kick up clouds of dust as they navigate the narrow passes.
In addition to the safety issues on the road, the dust is so bad Melton hates to leave clothes out to dry or to open her windows.
"When you open the windows, the dirt just comes flying through," she said.
Bookout Road wasn't always so heavily traveled, said Melton, who recalls days when she didn't need to hang blinds or curtains in her house.
Now, the route is a popular detour when there are events at Historic Brattonsville or along Brattonsville Road. For example, for a bike race last spring, Brattonsville Road traffic was rerouted along Bookout's two miles of curvy, narrow gravel road.
Melton hopes those who oppose paving will come around and see its benefits, such as higher property values, she said.
Down the road, Darius Alexander agrees that the road needs to be paved "to cut the dust and the mud. Our vehicles stay dirty all the time," he said.
Preserving country's character
For some property owners, the dust isn't such a problem. But having the county widen the road will be.
Poco Olson doesn't want to see the county cut down trees and shrubs or change the curves and qualities that make Bookout a country road. She refused the county's request for right-of-way and says she will change her mind "no way, no how."
Paving will lead only to more traffic, Olson says, and will disrupt the road's rural character, whose charm includes the narrow passages that require drivers to pull over and let others pass.
"Everybody knows where you can pass and where you can't," said Olson who attributed most accidents along Bookout to intoxicated drivers who lose control "and go turtle up in a field."
But Olson also sympathizes with the residents whose homes are closer to the road and the dust. Paving the road at their homes would be ideal, she said.
The county maintains the gravel road regularly, she said, while potholes on neighboring paved roads never seem to get fixed.
Leazer said gravel roads require more upkeep. A paved road may not need attention for 10 to 15 years, but a gravel road needs attention several times a year, he said.
Ways to pave
Leazer said he believes a meeting among the neighbors is in the works. Hopefully, he said, more residents will come around, and in his experience with other road paving projects, people generally do.
But if several still refuse, the county still has options to pave the road without impacting residents who don't give right-of-way. Some may give more space to avoid paving on other properties. The county might also consider paving a portion of the road where residents agree.
The county also has a responsibility to make the road safer for everyone who travels it, he said.
"If the majority of the people want it (paved) and it's to benefit York County as a whole, we feel it's something we need to move forward with," he said.