Sadie Schroeder, 77, says the one-lane Freeport Avenue in front of her home is "nothing but holes and ditches." William T. Potter, a caretaker at Mount Vernon, says Fairfax County workers used to fill the holes in his street, Gayfields Road, with gravel, but no more.
Schroeder and Potter live on streets that Fairfax County used to maintain for them.
In April 1975, midway in a major [WORD ILLEGIBLE] upgrade about 75 county [WORD ILLEGIBLE] would meet state [WORD ILLEGIBLE] send be taken over by [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Fairfax County Board of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] encountered a problem.
The county attorney told the supervisors they couldn't spend any more to upgrade more roads since a state law dating from 1932 prohibited the county from spending money on roads not already included in the state system.
Various citizen groups throughout the county charged that most of the 43 roads not ugraded were in black communities. They filed a complaint saying the county had failed to live up to a 1972 agreement to upgrade the original 75 roads.
Last September, U.S. District Court Judge Oren R. Lewis ruled that the county indeed had to go ahead and finish upgrading the roads.
"But the supervisors are appealing Lewis' decision because they claim it puts them in violation of a state law. "There are certain things the county doesn't have the legal authority to do," said assistant county attorney, Robert L. Howell.
Yesterday, when Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) asked the county to do repair work on eight roads, including Gayfields Road and Freeport Avenue, which are in his district, Supervisor Alan H. Magazine (D-Mason) asserted that this would make their appeal meaningless and might prejudice the case.
The other supervisors agreed and asked their staff to determine what kind of road work they can do without prejudicing their own court appeal.
In requesting the repair work, Alexander said, "simply because residents in these areas were not organized well enough to also bring suit against the county is no excuse for us now to ignore their roads. I in no way deny the legitimacy of the need to upgrade the roads in the black community. However, I will not be a party to any plan which discriminates against the other residents who have an equal need for upgraded roads."
When a reporter interviewed Potter by phone yesterday, he said, "I wish they could do something about the road." He said he has spent $600 over the last 15 years on gravel to fill the holes in the unpaved Gayfields Road.