The Toll 49 expansion promises to minimize impact on the community, including private property.
“Segment 5 and 6, the orange and the blue segment come right through our property,” said Kyle Cooksy, owner of Cooksy’s BBQ. “Basically right through our front door and it would require us to move and shut down my business I’ve been working on the past 5 years.”
An unbelievable end to a 20-year chapter in his life and an even longer one for his wife, who grew up on the land.
Cooksy is a self-proclaimed air-force brat, building his home on the land was his 30th move in the entirety of his life. He planned for it to be his last.
“Some of the other routes affect properties, they have to, that’s the only way they can get somewhere is properties,” said Cooksy. “But actually to go through somebody’s home, make them tell their kids, this is not going to be the home you’re going to grow up in anymore.”
And losing his home and business isn’t Cooksy’s only concern with the projected plan.
“It would span over Lake Tyler, the main water source for the City of Tyler, any kind of accidents, any kind of hazmat problems that go over that bridge would ruin that part of the lake and ruin that water,” said Cooksy.
When we asked Cooksy if he felt like his community would be at a loss without his business, he gave us a firm yes. Telling us neighbors stop by all the time, asking to purchase milk to avoid going into town. He says there isn’t much in that area, and he’s happy and proud to have been able to literally build a successful business from the ground up. He and his father built the building, by hand, that houses his delicious wares.
North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NETRMA) says they are listening to all concerns from citizens.
“They’ll factor in all this information and then it kind of gets boiled down to a one final recommendation that we will then act upon at that point,” said Chris Miller, Executive Director of NETRMA.
Cooksy hopes his home is a big enough factor for NETRMA.
“It’s my home, man, I brought my babies home from the hospital into this home,” said Cooksy. “I got dogs buried in my backyard, I don’t want to leave those.”