The Jackson County Commission discussed an issue with a memorandum of understanding regarding a gate at Buck’s Pocket State Park at its work session Monday afternoon.
The commission discussed the gate at its May 18 meeting. A local business owner, who wished to not be named, is building and donating two gates to be placed on the road to keep people from driving into a dangerous portion of the park when it receives heavy rain. The business owner in Section offered to furnish the material and build the gates if the county would put them up.
At the May 18 meeting, Park Ranger Jimmy Jones addressed the commission to discuss some details. Jones said the gates would be started on that Tuesday, and they should be done by the end of that week. Once the gates were built, they would be installed by the road department.
The locations for the gates have already been marked and measured by both Jackson and DeKalb counties. Jones had a memorandum of understanding from the state, and he needed a signature from Jackson County.
Jones said the park ranger or supervisor at Bucks Pocket State Park would be responsible for determining when the gates would need to be closed, and they would be responsible for closing the gates.
The county sheriff would also have the authority to close the gates in the event of an emergency or act of public safety. The road would be closed, and the gate would be locked after closing the area to ensure there are no vehicles or any other type of traffic in the area.
When the county received the MOU, it stated that the county would be responsible for closing the gate. The commission had an issue with assuming the responsibility.
County Attorney John Porter said it puts all legal responsibility on the county instead of the state, which he said seems backwards. Commission Chairman Tim Guffey asked if Porter would change the wording to say the park ranger would be responsible for the opening and closing of the gate.
Guffey said the county needed to work with the state to get the gate put up. He said it would save lives.