'No Man's Land' a problem for city residents

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Thomas Parks, Jr. lives on his own personal slice of heaven: about 7 acres on the South side of Montgomery--in an area known as 'No man's land.'

"It was a no man's land when we first moved in here," Parks admitted.

But life isn't exactly the same as it is closer to town.

"We was under the assumption that we had everything already set up for city services, but we later found out it was different," Parks said.

The problem is 'No man's land' doesn't live up to its name anymore.

The term now accounts for 68 miles of populated streets lacking some or all city services.

Parks spent thousands of dollars to build his own septic tank and even more to place lights along his street.

"Out here where the traffic and the people walk, you couldn't see at night," Parks explained.

Now, city and county leaders are joining forces, trying to repeal a decades old act that keeps these areas in limbo.

"We've been having problems for the last 30 years just about," explained Elton Dean of the Montgomery County Commission.

"There's never been any city effort, because [those residents] weren't paying taxes to move seven essential services to the area," explained Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.

A bill in the state legislature, sponsored by Rep. David Grimes, could change that.

The measure adds taxes for residents using five out of seven services, such as police protection, fire protection, garbage collection, water service, street lighting, street maintenance, and sanitary sewer service.

Passing the bill would bring those amenities to people like Thomas Parks who have waited a while to be included.

"12 years is a long time, but we've been somewhat assured that they were going to get it done pretty soon," he explained.

If the bill passes, the county will pay the city nearly $3 million so it can install those services.

The installation, however could take 5 to 10 years to complete.