By Ed Brock
Eugene Nixon has a growing collection of tire tracks in his front yard that were gouged by cars and trucks trying to turn around at the end of the dead-end road where he lives.
And he's completely fed up with it.
"It doesn't make sense for people for people to make my life this miserable," Nixon says, shaking his head while sitting on a guardrail that covers part of his yard at the end of Stoneybrook Road in Forest Park.
The guardrail has been knocked down twice, Nixon said.
Nixon and his wife, Annie, bought the quaint, red brick house four years ago after living with her sister in Fulton County.
"I decided I wanted my own space," Annie Nixon said.
But since then the Nixons' space has been invaded over and over by any number of strangers who seem to miss the "Dead End" sign at the beginning of the road. Stoneybrook does not end in a cul de sac but rather simply terminates at a fence that separates the neighborhood from the school ground of J.E. Edmonds Elementary School.
So many of the drivers use the Nixons' front yard to turn around. Along with the numerous tire tracks, some of the big trucks that backed into their driveway snapped off many of the limbs of a tree on the Nixons' property.
"I don't want to come out of my house because I'm afraid of what I might see," Eugene Nixon said.
Also, due to the constant flash of headlights from cars turning into the driveway at night the Nixons sleep in a rear bedroom instead of the master bedroom in the front of the house.
"I just wonder where they are coming from," Eugene Nixon said.
Stoneybrook wasn't always like this, said the Nixons' neighbor Gwen Sanford who has lived on the road for 40 years.
"It used to be a street full of kids playing," Sanford said. "Now you're afraid to let them out."
The nature of the neighborhood has changed in general, Sanford said. Instead of families with children there are now several houses on the road where the residents have large numbers of people over, with a large number of vehicles parked on and driving down the road, some times all night long.
They've driven over Sanford's yard, too.
"We have to go out there and cover them up, let the grass grow over them," Sanford said.
The road was supposed to circle around to exit back onto Elaine Road but for some reason the developers just ended the road abruptly before she moved there, Sanford said.
Forest Park Mayor Chuck Hall has been out to the road several times.
"When we first heard about this we put signs at the beginning of the road," Hall said. "We were hoping that would curtail the traffic down there."
The city also put a sign directly in front of the Nixons' driveway that states "Private driveway. No turnaround. Keep off."
It hasn't helped, Eugene Nixon said.
There's no room for the city to build a turnaround without taking some of the Nixon's property, and they don't want to do that.
"I bought it like this and this is how I want it to be," Nixon said.
Now Hall is working with landscapers to see if they can donate some shrubbery to the Nixons to plant in front of their house.
"Maybe that will slow them down a little bit," Eugene Nixon said. "Anything will be better than nothing."
On the other hand, Nixon said, it may not.