|Workers began paving a half-mile stretch of Tradewinds Drive in Romoland Wednesday morning.|
The residents of one Romoland neighborhood today are celebrating the arrival of a project that was a long time coming.
Work crews began laying down pavement on a half-mile stretch of Tradewinds Drive, running from Watson Road north to Mapes Road. That doesn't sound like a huge construction project, but to the local residents who have dealt with the dirt road for years, it's a major accomplishment.
"It's the end of a 10-year quest," said George Rackstraw, who appeared before the Menifee City Council Tuesday night to thank city officials for their help in getting the project done.
Tradewinds Drive was previously a wide, rough dirt road, one of a few unpaved roads in an area of about half a square mile bordered by Mapes Road to the north, Palomar Road to the east, Watson Road to the south and Antelope Road to the west. Tradewinds is the only north-south road within that area that runs all the way from Watson to Mapes.
During rainy weather or wind storms, the dirt road was difficult to travel on and created a variety of problems for residents, Rackstraw said.
"At one point, the property drops off about 5 1/2 feet," Rackstraw said. "During a rain, the water would run across the road and fill the recessed tennis court a neighbor has. It would fill with standing water, there would be mosquitoes ... I also had trouble with dust from the road."
Rackstraw said he has emails dating back to 2002, when he first began writing to the Riverside County Transportation Department to request road improvements in the neighborhood. He said he was told 6 1/2 years ago that "the money was in the pipeline," but work was never begun.
After Romoland became part of the City of Menifee in 2008, Rackstraw took his case to the City Council. Through his persistence and the diligence of Director of Public Works Don Allison and others, the project finally received the funding and approval to move forward. In early June, the City Council voted to accept a bid from Panorama General Engineering, Inc., for construction of a two-lane roadway on Tradewinds Drive.
The county's redevelopment agency agreed to fund the project up to $600,000. The bid accepted from Panorama by the city totaled just under $300,000, according to city documents. On behalf of the city, Allison and his staff monitored the project and were on hand Tuesday night to accept thanks from Rackstraw.
"The city has shown more effort to maintain this road than the county ever did," Rackstraw said. "This is really going to be a huge improvement. They've been grading the area for two weeks, and now the paving begins.
"The other night I was out watering the plants. For the first time, I saw a family of five out walking down my side of the street. Then I saw a woman jogging down the road. I've never seen that in 17 years here."