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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Council decides fate of Snodgrass building lease and are taken to task by longtime downtown businesswoman Shirley Hughes

“We in Crossville vote for you all and vote you in there. Why do so many of you not support Crossville?'

That was the question asked to the council by downtown property owner Shirley Hughes during a public comment at the end of the Crossville city council's meeting that included a discussion of Downtown Crossville Inc. (DCI) use of the city owned Snodgrass building.

Mrs. Hughes continued, “You do everything you can in voting against downtown. You're cutting the amount that had been approved for the sidewalks and things. And you tried to kick the DCI out. I want to know why are you against downtown Crossville? I just want to say that I think it is important to have a downtown.”

Hughes said most of the people that shopped at her business came from out of town something she said that concerned her.

Public Comments by downtown property owner Shirley Hughes

Earlier in the meeting, councilman Danny Wyatt discussed an item he had placed on the agenda concerning the lease on the Snodgrass building. Wyatt moved that the lease of the building be put out for bids to see if another non-profit organization would be interested in using it.

Councilman Jesse Kerley seconded the motion so it could be discussed.

Mr. Wyatt said that the lease DCI had would automatically renew for an additional 3 years if no action was taken. He added that DCI had done a good job but he felt this was the only way to see if anyone else was interested in leasing the building.

Councilman Pete Souza said he felt that the Snodgrass building was not just a city building, but an historic building. He added that DCI are ambassadors of Crossville and they use the building as a center point. “They've done more to enhance the downtown area than the city has. I sincerely want to see DCI remain there,” explained Souza.

Councilwoman Pamala Harris said that since DCI was getting the building as well as a donation of $8,000 to the organization she felt that they should pay the utilities on the building in addition to the $75 rent. According to Ms. Harris the utilities for the Snodgrass building average around $80 a month.

“Crossville is the heart of our community,” stated Mayor James Mayberry, “and it's the county seat and the citizens love to come to town whether it be for parades, taste of Crossville or Friday night at the crossroads. And DCI is instrumental in organizing a lot of these events. They decorate town for a lot of the seasons which enhances our little town.”

Mayberry also said that DCI organizes educational tours of downtown for all the fourth graders in the county each fall that includes a visit to the courthouse and the palace theatre and other locations. “I think DCI is a very important part of this community and we need to support them in every way that we possibly can as a council,” added Mayberry.

Ms. Harris compared the Crossville depot to the Snodgrass building saying that the depot paid there own utilities and they don't get a donation from the city. Mayor Mayberry pointed out that the depot was allowed to keep any revenue from the rental of the meeting room as part of their lease.

A vote taken on Wyatt's proposal failed with two votes in favor from Wyatt and Kerley and three votes opposed from Souza, Harris and Mayberry.

Souza moved that the city enter into negotiations with DCI to renew the contract and a second was given by Mr. Mayberry.

Councilman Wyatt asked who would negotiate for the city and it was decided that the city manager should be the one. The motion was amended to add that provision and was approved by the council unanimously.

Crossville city council discusses DCI and the Snodgrass building lease

DCI's Frances Carson gave the council additional details on the fourth grade downtown tours during public comment.   

Information on the 4th grade downtown walking tours

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