‘Back way’ out of shopping center closed

OKEECHOBEE — A shortcut popular with residents of the southwest area of the community is no more. Once called the “back way out of the old Walmart,” a private road that connected the Northlake Shopping Center (home to Tractor Supply and Publix) to Southwest 32nd Street has been fenced off.

Lake Okeechobee News/Katrina Elsken
The private road that connected the Northlake Shopping Center to Southwest 32nd Street has been fenced off. The road was never a public road, according to the Okeechobee County Road Department.

Over the years the road has frequently been the site of potholes. During heavy rains, the potholes filled with water, making it difficult for drivers to see the hazard. In recent months two deep potholes turned the road into an obstacle course for drivers trying to avoid using U.S. 441 to reach the shopping center.

The road, designated Southwest Fourth Avenue by a street sign, was never a public road, according to the Okeechobee County Road Department. Although local residents frequently complained about the potholes, the county has no authority to patch a private road.

According to the Okeechobee property appraiser’s website, the road and strips of land on each side are owned by DAG International Group LLC. DAG also owns the adjacent multi-family housing units.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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