MADISON — When Enola was formed more than a century ago, there was optimism that, like other communities in Madison County, it would one day be a bustling town.
So when the town was platted in 1906, streets were marked, anticipating future growth.
But they ended up not ever being paved.
Fast forward to 2018. Discovery was made of the streets that existed on paper but were not readily apparent to the human eye. They had become overgrown with grass and trees.
Earlier this month, the Madison County board of commissioners conducted a public hearing to consider vacating or abandoning the overgrown streets. In that case, the property would revert to the current adjacent landowners.
There is no local government entity in Enola, so the county is responsible for such considerations.
On Tuesday, commissioners voted to vacate the Enola streets on a 3-0 vote. The streets are Janet Avenue, Miller Street, Lane Street and a north-south alley — all located east of Main Street. The streets are 66 feet wide.
As part of the decision, the county board also voted to have the county conduct or pay for a land survey so the property owners who own the land adjacent to the streets will know where their new land is located.
Jim Becker requested the streets and alleys be vacated so there would be enough room for setbacks to put up two additional grain bins, an elevator leg, dryer and other improvements.
Sara Abler, who also owns lots that would be affected, told the county board earlier that she was against vacating at least part of the streets.
Because plans were to develop her lots into commercial storage, she would like the streets to provide access, Abler said.
Dick Johnson, Madison County road superintendent, said it would be up to the land owners to clear the streets and put them up to county grade. Then, if they meet standards, the county would accept them and agree to maintain them, he said.
Jim Prauner, chairman of the county board, said the Beckers are planning to do a sizable investment that will benefit the county.
“The way that I look at it, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’ ” Prauner said.
Commissioner Christian Ohl said he understands the concerns on both sides, but both property owners will gain land by vacating the streets.
Commissioner Ron Schmidt said the Beckers are making a sizable investment for Madison County.
“If you look at their properties, they keep their property really neat and clean,” Schmidt said.