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Toll road meeting shut down

Cliff Gibson
Greenville Herald-Banner
A meeting at NeSmith Elementray School in Lavon hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Division was shut down by local fire officials, who said the crowd of over 300 people in the school's cafetria violated fire code.

A public meeting Lavon to present plans for a proposed toll road linking Greenville with the President George Bush Turnpike in Dallas County ended early last night. About 45 minutes into the meeting, local fire officials shut down the event at NeSmith Elementary School in Lavon, according to a report by the Greenville Herald-Banner.

Over 300 people had been crowded into the school cafeteria, which violated the fire safety code for that room. The meeting was hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which is conducting a yearlong study of what has been called the Blacklands Corridor, including parts of Hunt, Collin, Rockwall and Dallas Counties.

Over 500 people showed up for the meeting, and the event got off to a rough start when about 200 people were moved from the cafeteria to the school’s gymnasium, where they were offered a chance to view the meeting remotely.

The event began with Council of Governments staff presenting their feasibility study, evaluating the present and future transportation needs of the region. About a half hour into the presentation, the gym’s sound system failed. Council of Governments staff then announced that because of the sound system not working, that the public forum segment scheduled to follow all presentations would be canceled and rescheduled for another time.

Then, less than 15 minutes after that announcement, the local fire marshal said that the gathering was obligated to disperse.

A rescheduled meeting site and time have not been announced.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.
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