RIO GRANDE — After addressing concerns with the Gallia Engineer and Gallia 911 Communications Center surrounding an issue of address discrepancies in the village, Rio Grande officials are finally placing corrected address number street signs on area residences.
“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with 911 and the engineer has been excellent,” said Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter. “They have updated the map with the correct addresses. A lot of people’s address in the village is correct. The ones that aren’t, we’re doing a door to door campaign (to place signs). Everybody gets one whether the address was a problem or not. We purchased them as part of the previous fire and police levy.”
Village officials spoke Aug. 14 about differences in recorded addresses in the village at a council meeting as they felt they were potentially creating problems with late package delivery services and emergency response units. Village officials felt less than 50 individuals had experienced such problems.
According to previous information gathered, village officials had been concerned that the address discrepancy problem may have been countywide. Gallia 911 Director Sherry Daines said to her knowledge the problem had only been found in the Rio Grande area.
Gallia Engineer Brett Boothe shared with a reporter that the engineer’s office is responsible for officially recognizing addresses across the region. The county reportedly started addressing for the 911 system in the early 90s and utilized electronic distance measuring devices installed in a vehicle, which was considered the best technology of the time. While also changing address numbers, road names were also changed where a road name might have been used multiple times throughout the region. Roads were addressed away from the City of Gallipolis in number and that sometimes conflicted with Ohio Department of Transportation’s straight line mileage. This reportedly did not affect the 911 addressing needs, however.
According to Gallia Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Tim Miller, when Rio Grande had been readdressed in the past, some residents chose to not change their address numbers.
With the passage of time, advances in technology and changes to homes and properties, which might not have been registered with the engineer’s office, differences occur in records, said Boothe. Where an entry drive may have first been placed may have changed on a residence. Distances originally measured with older equipment would be different than those taken with newer equipment. Aerial shots used in earlier addressing efforts in 1977 had distortions due to camera lenses.
“The problem exists in a lot of different regions in the state,” said Boothe. “The trick is determining which addresses may need changed due to need.”
Boothe said if one were to attempt to readdress the entire county, it would mean thousands of people would need to call utility companies, government agencies and more in order to make certain their addresses were correct with the given organization. To his knowledge, the only concerns with address discrepancies recently addressed were in Rio Grande.
In order to overcome location issues, the engineer’s office took part in a location based response system program in 2010. The system would allow use of GPS coordinates to better locate a residence. Various responder agencies across the state have access to the information but potentially not all agencies do given funding and technology needs.
“We’re going to slowly distribute those signs to everyone in the village,” said Rio Grande Police Lt. Josh Davies. “Police and fire will go around and give signs with the correct addresses to the residents and if they need put up we will do that for them. We got upwards of 300 signs so it’s going to be a process. We also need an ordinance in place.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 74-446-2342, ext. 2103.