TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Many Chapel Hill residents have expressed their concerns for the expansion of Toll 49.
While the discussion continues, lawmakers believe it may be a property rights issue.
During a town hall held exclusively on KETK News, Governor Abbott was asked his thoughts on the expansion of Toll 49.
“Here in East Texas, we’re having trouble with Toll 49. A new freeway expansion here, displacing families, farmland, that sort of thing. What would you say to people who may be paying the price for the land they own?” asked KETK’S Neal Barton.
“Private property rights are paramount, and we must protect private property rights in Texas,” answered Governor Abbott, receiving an approving response from the crowd.
It was a statement that landowners are taking as a positive sign.
“How can they make a decision regarding eminent domain when people have private property rights, and Governor Abbott spoke highly about supporting private property rights,” says Jeanne Holloway.
Although Holloway doesn’t live on one of the proposed routes, many of her friends do and believe with the expansion, the stakes are high.
“The people are aware of what we’re really talking about here. It’s not just the fact that you’re going to lose your home, you’re going to lose more than that,” explains Holloway.
She’s talking about people like Mary Lou Tyer. Mary Lou has been living on her property for 40 years.
“My family and I built this house. It took 2 years to do it, and I don’t want to see it with concrete instead of a house,” says Mary Lou.
With every memory, the thought of losing it all is scary.
“I think I cried,” Mary Lou continues, “to think that emotionally, financially be devastating to their homes, their memories.”
A 300-acre ranch, “that sort of circle, that’s wetlands,” says Mary Lou as she worried about what a Toll road could mean for her property.
Worried water sources like Lake Tyler could be compromised, and stating it isn’t worth the money.
“You don’t buy memories with money,” explains Mary Lou.
A statement Holloway agrees with, stating, “it’s not only affecting wetlands, it’s going to affect our water source, it’s not only going to affect people’s habitat, but it’s going to affect birds, the deer that come.”
During an interview with KETK News, Holloway looks at the mission statement on NET RMA’s website, explaining how she believes the company is missing the bottom line.
“It’s digressing from what the mission statement of Net RMA is which is to improve the quality of life, and I don’t see how removing people’s homes and cutting through natural habitat and wetlands are going to improve lifestyle,” says Holloway.
At the end of the interview, Holloway shared a poem, concerning the Lake.
“You can say it with a song as you talk all day long, but when you know something’s wrong, and when it has to take so long, it seems to be quite clear that the road you should take, should be the one that is furthest from the lake.”-Jeanne Holloway