As I drove into Muscatine early Tuesday morning, returning from what was to be a relaxing weekend that was instead plagued with cancelled flights and delays, I was pondering what I should write about for this week’s column. It hit me, or rather, I hit it rather quickly: Muscatine’s roads.
They say the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but sometimes it actually is. And in the case of Muscatine’s roadways, there are plenty of Iowa communities that face the same winter storms that we do that don’t have near the blemishes on their streets. I stopped counting at 26 the number of times my car was jarred as I passed through town. The final tally would have quickly doubled.
My husband moved to Muscatine in 2013 and was the first to really bring it to my attention. Sometimes when you experience something every day, you almost become immune to it. “You have the worst roads in the state,” he said. I quickly came to Muscatine’s defense, telling him how U.S. 61 business route isn't under the city's purview, how tough the winters are and even shared that the city has a place online that you can report potholes. He wasn’t buying it. And while he has not visited every town in Iowa to be an expert, this small town Iowa boy had lived and worked in his fair share of cities in the state and I began to see Muscatine from his perspective.
As I entered Muscatine in the early hours Tuesday after visiting a community that was free of potholes, I started to think about the controversy right here in River City over the impeachment of our mayor and found myself wondering how many potholes could be fixed with the money spent on ousting Diana Broderson. What if our community applied the same zest to fixing our streets as we have done in pledging support or opposition to our ousted mayor? What if everyone who signed a petition to have members of Muscatine City Council removed took the time to report a pothole in their neighborhood? Heck, it might even be a topic that would get more than “no comment” out of our councilmen. Come to think of it, I think the only ones crying foul would be the local mechanic shops.
This is not meant to be a bash on the hard-working city employees tasked with improving our streets. I even know some of them personally, and you can’t find a more genuine group of people. It has to do with not getting complacent and putting effort into the good of all citizens, one pothole at a time.
Report potholes to the city by logging onto the city’s website, muscatineiowa.gov and select “Let us Know.”