A major component of Phase I in Fayetteville’s Greenway Project became a reality last week as the bridge over Tanyard Branch was hoisted into place by a crane with guidance from a crew on the ground.
The impressive sight unfolded Monday morning in the area between Small & Small Oil Co. and Sequatchie Concrete just east of Main Avenue South. Once the Phase I project is completed, downtown Fayetteville will be connected to Stone Bridge Park via South Elk Avenue, the walkway and the Tanyard Branch bridge.
The project got underway in late August and is scheduled to be completed by early spring.
Phase II of the Greenway Project, which will connect Phase I with Camp Blount Historic Site via a large pedestrian bridge over the Elk River, remains on hold until the Federal Highway Administration approves the release of funding to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said City Administrator Scott Collins in Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
“They keep telling me that should be any day now,” Collins said.
Another project, Phase I of the Camp Blount development, is being rebid due to bids coming in over budget, the city administrator continued. “We’ve been working with Crory Engineering, and we’ve carved it down some,” he said. “We’re expecting to have much better bid results this time.”
Camp Blount Phase I includes construction of the Camp Blount Memorial Plaza. With a pre-bid conference set for Jan. 29, the bid opening is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 12. The targeted date for the unveiling of First Volunteer Statue, which was originally set for March, has been pushed back to June 20, he said.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized Mayor Michael Whisenant to write a letter to the deputy commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, requesting that the city’s share of future Surface Transportation Block Grant funding be allocated to the completion of the William D. Jones Boulevard improvement project.
Currently the city has approximately $550,000 in STBG funding available for the project; however, it is expected to cost just over $900,000. The request, if approved by the deputy commissioner, would obligate the city’s share of those funds until about 2023.
Members of the board also commended staff after accepting the city’s FY 2019 audit, conducted by Putman and Hancock CPAs. The audit now goes to the state comptroller’s office for review.
“It was a very good audit, with one minor finding,” said Whisenant.
The board approved a facilities user agreement with Fayetteville City Schools, which facilitates the use of certain city ball parks by the city high school. There had been discussion about adding a fee to the agreement, but that was not included in the approved motion. Alderman Donna Hartman posed the sole opposing vote, saying she wasn’t opposed to city schools utilizing the fields but that she does believe it’s unfair to the city’s parks and recreation department that they must use a portion of their budget to maintain the fields February through May to accommodate usage – “I just think there should be some fee associated for use of the fields,” she said.
A proposal to increase the $500 limit on purchases without having to go to bid to $1,000 was approved, as were event permits for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., March on Jan. 20 and the Firecracker Chase to be held on June 27.
In general comments, the mayor noted that Fayetteville Public Utilities had completed the refinancing of electric bonds, which resulted in the savings of $110,000 without extending the life of the bond. FPU’s board of directors had approved the refinance in October, and it was subsequently approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in November.
Whisenant also recognized the recent deaths of Polly Jeter, a reserve law enforcement officer who worked as an emergency dispatcher for 31 years, Elizabeth Askins, who was a longtime employee of South Central Human Resource Agency and was with Head Start for many years, and Marshall Arney, a former chairman of Fayetteville Public Utilities’ board, former member of the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities, and a longtime member of the Fayetteville Lions Club.
In other matters, it was noted that Collins would be completing the certified public manager’s course that the board had previously approved. The course included 300-plus hours of instruction, a capstone project, and a presentation. It was also noted that Kristi Gentry, city planner, is completing her course to become a certified economic developer.