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The Crossville City Council met for nearly an hour and a half work session this evening to discuss nearly two dozen items.

First up was a presentation by Greg Davenport of J.R. Wauford & Company of Nashville about the city’s raw water supply. Davenport presented charts showing current safe yields and water-treatment plant capacities for the city’s three reservoirs: Holiday Lake, Meadow Park Lake and Lake Tansi. He also discussed options for increasing output needs, based on estimated moderate and high population growth in the coming 20 to 50 years.

There was some discussion about timelines and feasibility for the proposals. Davenport left the council with this thought: “If you don’t start, you can’t finish, and permits take a long time to get.”

Next, Mike Corley of the Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District delivered a presentation regarding additional gas-supply lines to service the community. Corley said the utility is in the process of installing a twelve-inch natural-gas pipeline from Van Buren to Bledsoe counties and into Crossville; it’s their largest single installment ever. The proposed route would eventually wend its way north and west of Meadow Park Lake.

When asked why they didn’t plan to install the pipeline along a straight line up Lantana Road, Corley explained, “Most people don’t want a twelve-inch gas line running through their front yard.”

City Manager Greg Wood discussed several items – from establishment of an airport committee to a Leisure Services Director for the city and addition of a full-time employee to the staff of Meadow Park Lake, to entering into a contract with Volunteer Energy Cooperative to install LED street lights in the city.

Regarding the airport committee, Wood said it would facilitate more activities and bring more business to the airport. He talked about fly-ins – specifically, with regard to packages with the Cumberland County Playhouse that would, for instance, promote fly-ins for matinee performances. Wood discussed the kinds of people who could comprise the airport committee, including pilots, civil engineers, marketing people, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re the home of Trade-A-Plane. That’s a big deal and we’re just not capitalizing on it,” Wood said.

The Leisure Services Director is a position that evolved from the Parks Manager and Program Manager positions first proposed in 2014. Wood discussed the position as one that would assume responsibility for overseeing the city parks, the Palace Theater, the amphitheater and the Depot. He said there’s been some interest from a few people wanting to lease the Depot, which would take a financial burden off the city; they’re currently looking at about an $18,000 loss at the facility for this year. Any takeover of the property by a private enterprise would be dependent upon willingness to retain two part-time employees and honor any existing rental commitments. Operation of the Depot would also entail management of the amphitheater. Wood emphasized the Sports Council is an independent board, so there would be no oversight of it by the Leisure Services Director. And in order to remain budget neutral, the marketing function of the position would have to be cut.

The Depot matter will be discussed at the regular meeting next week.

Wood said VEC is willing to enter into a six-and-a-half year contract with the city for changeover to LED street lights – at a cost of $100,000 per year. The entire project is estimated to cost $650,000.

When it came time for discussion of the temporary street closings for Friday at the Crossroads, Councilman Rob Harrison expressed concern about traffic backups at the intersection of Webb Avenue and Highway 70. Discussion ensued, during which Police Chief Jessie Brooks said assigning a police officer to direct traffic in that area during the time of the street closure would detract from the regular patrol officers’ duties. When asked whether a volunteer could handle directing the traffic, Brooks said it must be a certified police officer who directs traffic along state highways.

The manager of Meadow Park Lake reported that, of the park’s total 5,328 operational hours last year, some 2,000 hours were non-staffed hours. Addition of a part-time employee would require a budget amendment of $9,800 to ensure adequate staffing for the remainder of this fiscal year.

The park has eight RV sites with 20-, 30- and 50-amp service; but they can only use six sites, due to health-department restrictions. They also have four usable tent sites and two small camp cabins.

During a discussion of the Homestead water tower tank resurfacing, Councilman J.H. Graham III said he’s heard from two students of Homestead Elementary School, who have requested the Homestead Bulldog mascot be painted on the tower. Discussion ensued regarding the cost of doing that versus the existing golfer artwork – and whether the school might be willing to raise money to make up the difference.

Also on the agenda for discussion was the matter of blood samples for the City of Crossville Police Department. City Attorney Will Ridley said he’s presented the proposal from Covenant Health to Chief Brooks for his approval. Last year, there were 95 DUI arrests in the city, up from 75 in 2017. And the police department needs to secure a warrant for each blood draw, unless the suspect voluntarily submits to the blood draw. At a cost of $17 per draw, that comes out to $1,615 for 95 blood samples.

Of course, Brooks added, there are instances when a blood draw is simply not possible – when a suspect is violent or excessively irate, for example.

The council approved several items, including a temporary street closing for the Run to Read 5K and one-mile walk at Roane State; approval of a one-time $1,000 donation for the Cumberland County High School cheer squad to help defray the cost of attending the National Cheer Competition; acceptance of Holly Tree Drive and Panther Valley Road as city streets; and approval of various purchases, grant applications, agreements and contracts.

The council decided to withhold a few items from the agenda for next week’s meeting. Among them were temporary street closings for Friday at the Crossroads events, a proposed seal/stripe runway and taxiway project, and further discussion of the Leisure Services Director position. Those were pushed forward to future meetings. The street closings for Friday at the Crossroads will be taken up in March, so there will be a definitive decision made in advance of the April 5 Crossroads event.

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