Saturday, April 6, 2019

12 Year Old Boy Fills Michigan Potholes

Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Or in this case a boy has got to step up and do what his city, county, and state government ought to be doing. I appreciate the initiative, gumption and civic pride that 12-year-old Monte Scott showed in attempting to fix numerous potholes in his specific area of North central Michigan town Muskegon Heights. 

More people should show pride in the appearance of their community. But it's safe to say that the fix for potholes is not going to be kids filling them up with dirt, no matter how much we like their civic concern. And young Master Scott knows that. In a few years perhaps Monte Scott will be in a position to run for office and place some accountability on those who let his roads deteriorate to such a horrible condition. 

A Facebook video posted Wednesday showing a boy taking a pocked Muskegon Heights street into his own hands and filling up the potholes with dirt has since garnered more than 50,000 views. The boy, Monte Scott, 12, told WZZM-TV that he didn't want people messing up their cars like his mom did. 

In the video, Scott is seen working in a red and orange hoodie, using a shovel and a garbage can of dirt to fill up one of the larger potholes on what looks to be a bumpy stretch of street. Passers-by stopped to capture the scene on camera, praise Scott and lament about the state of the roadway. "You're gonna be something too, you're a hard worker," a man is heard telling Scott.

Payne said she isn't surprised by her son's initiative. "He's that type of kid," she said. "He's always had a big heart, always wanted to help by shoveling snow, raking leaves, going to the grocery store for his grandma."

Monte told CNN affiliate WXMI, "I just didn't want anyone else to get a flat tire." He suggested that workers "tear the whole street up and use concrete" to fill the holes. "It might cost more, but it'll last longer." The boy called his dirt-filling action "a Band Aid" that doesn't stay long.

She and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are set to meet Monte this week, Payne and WXMI reported. And, added the proud mother, a crew showed up to fix the potholes for good after her video went viral. Muskegon Heights Mayor Kimberley Sims told the Free Press that she was touched to hear about Scott's efforts and inspired. However, Sims said it was bittersweet to see Scott take charge because "the problem is so bad that he feels he has to do that."

"We have a constant issue of potholes," Sims said, adding that Muskegon Heights crews are small, but are working to address issues daily — this winter hit the city's roads particularly hard. 

Sims explained the city passed its first street millage a couple years ago and levied taxes to improve the condition of the local roads, but said, "our overall funding system is broke." She said it's important to consider that Muskegon Heights is a depressed community, and "the tax base isn't there that would be in most communities." Looking to solutions, Sims said that if revenue sharing in the state could increase, communities like Muskegon Heights could get additional support and allocate more funds towards improvements that benefit the community.
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