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Friday, April 21, 2017

Crossville council remains stymied over sidewalks, votes to request TDOT pave Main St.

Crossville city council could not come to a consensus on downtown sidewalks again, leaving the project where it stood from a motion last July to do piecemeal repairs as the street department can get to it. 

A motion to follow a recommendation from city manager Greg Wood and engineer Tim Begley received 3 votes but failed as changing a previous action it required 4 votes to pass.  That recommendation was to bring all the corners downtown up to ADA standards and install new LED street lights including conduit.  Because the plan would include some "bump outs" into side streets and a few in Main St. that project would have to be done prior to TDOT paving the road through downtown. 
City engineer Tim Begley, standing, explains the
sidewalk plan to members of the city council.
Manager Wood said he hoped he was working on an objective that the council can all agree on.  Wood explained that for the last week he, Tim Begley and Kevin Dean had been working on "What will it take to get everything prepared to get the corners to ADA standards so that we can go ahead and get TDOT to get 127 paved."  For that plan to work, the city would have to do all of the corners, run the conduit and because in several places the existing street lights interfere with the proposed plan, installing the new LED street lights is included in the plan with street light material expected to cost $270,000.  
Looking over plans that did not pass.

The total project would cost about $1 million and according to Wood "would get this thing off of dead center."  Additional work on sidewalks that need repair between the corners could be done after the paving as well as paving work on the side streets that need paved due to the water line work done last year. 

Mr. Begley went over design items with council including bump outs into Main Street and side roads in order to make the ramps compliant.  The bump outs seemed to confuse some of the council.  WHen asked about the staff to allow the city to do the work, Mr. Wood said that the two part-time positions approved by council for the street department would have to be full time.  Wood said the city was not getting applicants for the part-time positions anyway.  
Mr. Begley, center, discusses plans with council members 
Wyatt, left and Harris, right.

Wood continued that once the current light poles were removed, they would be adapted and used to replace wooding light poles at Warner Park that have been attacked by woodpeckers.  Mr. Begley also said that the city would do the curb and gutter around any new bump outs that were built. 

"It's not going to be Nirvana but it's going to get us down the road and get the road paved," quipped Wood. 

The matter of budgets came up next with councilman Danny Wyatt asking about the 2017-18 budget.  Wood explained that $800,000 would be budgeted for the coming year and the balance in the following budget year.  A question from Mayor James Mayberry drew clarification for Wood that that was the cost of materials and the work would be done by city crews but that costs was not part of the estimated costs.  Mayberry also asked about the timeline and the discussion began to break down.  

The length of time to complete the work was not something anyone could estimate precisely.  Council spent some time discussing the project and other work that the street department has to do.  

Mayor Mayberry said that the recent report on Crossville from the Austin Group on how site locating companies look at the area and the report specifically said that the downtown area is vita to the impression companies get of Crossville.  Mayberry also shared a survey of 450 people by the Chamber, a high percentage who felt downtown revitalization was important.  
Cracked and worn downtown sidewalks and a
problem streetlight base near a corner. 

Councilwoman Pamala Harris asked Mayberry how many of them were in favor of a tax increase saying the original plan for sidewalks could have meant a 9 or 10 cent tax increase.  Harris talked about her own survey and was interrupted by Mayberry.

Is that how you got the answers to your survey?  Telling people it would be a 9 or 10 cent tax increase? Harris said "That's what it would be." Mayberry said, "That's what I thought."  Mr. Wyatt said it could even be higher.  "I've got three businesses (car washes) without sidewalks.   I'd love to have sidewalks in front of them."  Wyatt suggested a way to settle the matter was with a referendum.  

Mayberry responded, "How long have we been talking about this?  How long do you want to kick this down the road?  Vote your conscience people, that's all that I can say."

Councilman J. H. Graham moved that the recommendation as discussed be approved.  Ms. Harris supported the motion.  Because the action superseded another previous action by the council 4 votes would be required for the motion to pass.  Voting in favor was Graham, Harris and Wyatt.  Councilman Scot Shanks and Mayor Mayberry voted no and the motion failed. 

As council tried to figure out their next move, councilman Wyatt moved that manager Wood contact TDOT and tell them to come pave Highway 127.  Sidewalks would then be dealt with after that.  Graham gave a second.  The motion was approved with Wyatt, Graham, Harris and Mayberry voted in favor and Shanks voted no.  

It is estimated that TDOT would not do that work until sometime in 2018.

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