Direction of Historic Road Unclear

November 9, 2006--Posted at 5:30 CST

POINSETT COUNTY, AR--It has served as a transport for supplies and ammo during the Civil War and before that a trail to the south for the Indians. Old Military Lane in Poinsett County was one of the first roads in Region 8.

Now a group is pushing to make sure the roadway stays open.  Nearly two centuries ago, Old Military Lane was the only way to travel when Poinsett County flooded.

"Old Military Lane was establish before Arkansas was even established as a state," said resident Jamilyn Condra.

Condra is the spokesperson for a group trying to preserve Old Military Lane. She feels no one had the right to close a portion of the road. While K8 News was interviewing Condra, R.L. Drum, the man who owns the property the road runs through, approached us to tell his side of the story.

"You didn't own the road. You didn't purchase the road," said Condra.

"I did purchase the road. You should check my deed and see," said Drum.

Drum owns a sand and gravel company and plans to use land the road sits on for mining. But Condra feels the minor change to the roadway is a major hit on a historical landmark.

"It's significance is that it runs on the top of Crowley's Ridge," said Condra.

"It does now. It hasn't in the past," replied Drum.

Condra believes Old Military Lane should remain the way it is because of the 200 years of history behind it. However, Drum feels that because it has already been moved several times in the past 200 years, one more time shouldn't be that big of a deal.

"All I know is it was changed once. Why can't I put it back the way it was?" asked Drum.

"After you exhausted the mineral rights," replied Condra.

"Whatever way you want it," remarked Drum.

Drum feels that by moving the road, he actually made it safer for school buses that drive on the curvy road that sits up on top of a steep bluff. He feels he is ready to continue with the project after a visit Wednesday from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

"The man that was out here yesterday from their home office said fine, keep on trucking and that is what we are doing," said Drum.

While the portion of the road remains closed, both sides continue to stand their ground. Even though construction is already underway on the road, Condra's group is busy gathering signatures on a petition at the Harrisburg Library. They plan to address the Quorem Court Monday night at the Poinsett County Courthouse.