As plans for annexation of the Shadow Lake community into Greenwood inch toward a potential election, residents of the quiet neighborhood remain steadfast in their opposition.
“We’ve always taken care of ourselves if there’s a problem,” said Linda Bowen, a member of the Shadow Lake homeowners’ association board of directors. “We’ve maintained our community through our board and residents who care about it.”
Both the city’s Annexation Committee and Planning Commission support pursuing annexation of Shadow Lake and other, less-populated areas via an election in November. The issue now rests with the Greenwood City Council, which is expected to begin addressing the potential annexation election during a study session at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
Passage of the annexation measure would require a combined majority of votes from Greenwood residents and those who live in the targeted areas, according to city officials. According to the homeowners’ association, which recently held its annual meeting, a majority of residents, 80-percent plus, oppose annexation.
“Everybody there was definitely against it,” resident Jerry Winford said.
“They were riled up,” Bowen added.
There are about 125 Shadow Lake homes in the $150,000-$300,000 price range, according to the homeowners’ association. If annexed, Shadow Lake would provide Greenwood with an additional $24,292 in property taxes annually, according to the city’s annexation committee.
It is also estimated that Greenwood would pull in between $69,000 and $82,000 a year in additional state turnback taxes. After losing $18,000 a year in out-of-town fees now charged for water service at Shadow Lake, the city would net about $79,000 a year, according to the committee.
Shadow Lake residents contend the city will need to allocate additional resources and money to maintain their community and future costs for street maintenance, the potential installation of additional fire hydrants and water-line upgrades.
“The revenue they’re going to get we don’t feel is adequate to take care of our area,” said James Simpson, president of the Shadow Lake homeowners’ association. “We really don’t think it’s possible for them to do that.”
Residents are also skeptical that Greenwood can provide the same level of services they currently enjoy, like county road maintenance and fire protection from the nearby Jenny Lind Fire Department.
“Drive around the city of Greenwood,” Winford said. “The streets are terrible in certain areas.”
Instead, some residents say it would be in the best interest of the city to focus on its own “infrastructure problems.”
“Streets are a major concern to us because we’re very happy with the county,” Bowen said. “They know $70,000-$80,000 isn’t going to go very far.”
Simpson’s wife, Carol, also a homeowners’ association board member, said their reluctance to join Greenwood is “not a personal thing.”
“Our gripe is we don’t see we’ll get anything for what we give,” she said. “The city is stretching itself too far. I think the majority of us see it as getting less service for more money.”
According to the city, it began providing water and sewer service to Shadow Lake residents in 1975. The meeting minutes from the time state the “property will be annexed into the city of Greenwood within the foreseeable future.”
Meeting minutes from 1994 and 1995 indicate that Shadow Lake’s property owners’ association approached the city about annexation, then gathered enough signatures for a petition following one failed attempt.
In March 1996, according to meeting minutes, the city was accused of “dragging their feet to keep Shadow Lake from coming into the city.” From there, the annexation plans fizzled. The renewed interest is part of a larger plan that explored annexation on all sides of Greenwood, which has a population of about 9,000.
“If I’d wanted to live in the city of Greenwood, I’d have bought a home in the city of Greenwood,” Shadow Lake resident Bob Page said.
Earlier this month, the Greenwood City Council approved spending up to $10,000 on annexation costs. Annexation committee chairman Robert McKinney told council members they need to pass an ordinance by late August if they wish to see the annexation on the Nov. 4 election ballot.
If the City Council moves forward with the election, the homeowners’ association plans to mount its own campaign.
“The big loser in all this will be the residents of the city of Greenwood,” Bowen said. “I don’t see how they benefit. I think a well-informed resident wouldn’t vote for annexation.”