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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Crossville Council OKs Garrison Park budget amendment with some members still opposed to grant

The Crossville city council finally approved the third and final reading of a budget amendment needed to approve payment for work already done and paid for as part of the Garrison Park redevelopment project. One council member opposed the measure based on the project requiring that the fence around the park be removed.

The council started second guessing the project after discovering details that had been previously provided to them in agenda materials including that the fence around the park would be removed. The other controversy in the project is the removal of the grandstand built in the late 1940s that is in disrepair and unable to meet ADA requirements for handicapped access.

Prior to the July council meeting, members review the
Garrison Park concept plan.  L-R Pamala Harris,
Mayor James Mayberry, J.H. Graham, city manager Greg Wood
and Scot Shanks.

At this point, the council has approved acceptance of the grant contract from the State of Tennessee for $500,000 in a 50/50 match and has approved contracts with the engineering firm designing the project and the grant administrator in previous actions.

Council discussion on Garrison budget amendment

Some council members then looked at the details of the work and have appeared to want to slow the process until some changes can be made or abandon it all together. The state has told the city the grant agreement requires them do do certain things in order to complete the grant including the removal of the fence and grandstand. The state said that the fence could be put back up completely or partially if the city wants to. According to city manager Greg Wood, the current model for public parks is to have open un-fenced access to the amenities.

The project also includes a splash pad, a playground, new basketball court and restroom facilities at the park.

Councilman J. H. Graham moved to approve the budget amendment at the amount paid for the work and was seconded by Mayor James Mayberry.

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Councilman Danny Wyatt said he would not support the matter “because we've learned a lot of things over the last month or two.” Wyatt complained about having to tear down the chain link fence adding, “The taxpayers paid for this fence and it's in good shape.”

Mr. Graham commented that he only intended for the bills already paid to be covered under the budget and he was “not supporting any contracts or accepting the grant or anything else.”

After some confusion expressed by councilwoman Pamala Harris, city clerk Sally Oglesby explained to the the council that the grant had been accepted and the contracts approved months ago.

Prior to the vote being taken, Mayor Mayberry clarified once more that the vote was strictly on the budget amendment to cover expenses already paid for the previous fiscal year. The motion passed with three aye votes from Graham, Mayberry and councilman Scot Shanks. Council members Wyatt and Harris voted no.  

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