Traffic concerns highlighted at meeting of Kenton officials

Traffic concerns highlighted at meeting of Kenton officials

Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011 10:07 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Kenton city officials took steps last week to protect the town’s downtown from heavy truck traffic and will be sending a formal resolution to the Tennessee Department of Transportation concerning a possible Highway 45 West bypass.
At the Kenton board of mayor and aldermen’s meeting last Thursday, unanimous approval was granted to a plan to divert large farm trucks from traveling down Poplar Street and through the downtown area on their way to grain bins on the east side of downtown.
“They are tearing the streets all to pieces,” board member Tim Johns said.
Others on the board agreed, commenting that heavy truck traffic through the downtown area has been an ongoing problem. With the council’s approval last week, new signs will be posted along Poplar Street detouring trucks around the downtown area to the grain bins. Also, the council will have the city’s police department enforce the detour plan.
In a related matter, the board also unanimously approved a formal resolution opposing a possible Highway 45 West bypass around downtown.
It is the state transportation department that is working on widening and improving Highway 45 West from Union City through Kenton and there is a possibility of a bypass around the downtown area.
The council has requested the Highway 45 West run through town with the addition of a turning lane.
“The Kenton Board of Mayor and Aldermen has determined that a relocation of U.S. Highway 45W to bypass the City of Kenton would be needlessly expensive for the State of Tennessee, detrimental to the businesses of our community, and injurious to the economic well-being of our citizens,” the resolution states in part.
The highway improvement project is still a long way from reality, but the board is taking early steps to protect the town from a bypass.
“I don’t see it happening in 10 to 15 years,” board member Wade Simpson said.
Also during last week’s more than 90-minute session, unanimous approval was granted to a motion to increase the city’s water bills by $2 a month to offset the cost of having dumpsters available to the public around town.
The $2 increase will go into effect with next month’s water bills for residents of Kenton.
Formal approval was given by the board at last Thursday’s meeting to the official reappointment of Camelia Cunningham as city recorder and the reappointment of Ed Sims as fire chief. Ms. Cunningham’s reappointment was unanimously approved, while Sims’ reappointment came by a 4-2 vote, with board members Johns and Angie Choate voting against his reappointment. Also, the board did not officially reappoint Steve Meeks as police chief at last week’s meeting.
In other action last week, the Kenton board:
• Was informed that the city-owned youth center building on College Street is vacant. The board agreed to have Johns and Simpson check on the building and look at what renovations need to be made to make the building available to rent.
• Was informed by board member Faye Sharp that repair work to the city’s community center was completed by Ram Jack in late January. She told the board six piers were installed to reinforce the building and because additional steel pipe was used to reinforce the building the cost for the repair work increased from $7,650 to $8,400.
She and others on the board voiced their satisfaction with the work on the center and with the professionalism of the work crew that handled the project.
Ms. Sharp, who serves as the board’s parks and recreation commissioner, added that the roof to the gymnasium needs repairs, and the board agreed to have her seek bids for the roof repairs.
“Gas heaters located in the ceiling need to be removed and vent outlets covered before the roof is repaired to prevent the escape of warm air in the winter and cold air in the summer,” she told the board. “These heaters are obsolete and no longer in use. Hopefully, we can get doors and floor damage repaired through volunteer work.”
She also told the board that work on the city’s walking track will start when weather permits.
• Heard, but took no action on, a request from Kenton resident Charles Crouson that he be reimbursed an unspecified amount for his expenses in installing water and sewer service to his residence in 1980.
• Heard but took no action on a concern raised by Kenton resident L.A. Baucom, who told the board he is worried about the health problems that would go along with the possible location of a chicken manure plant in the city.
• Renewed a pair of short-term loans, one of which was in the amount of $7,000 and was issued for renovations to the town’s community center, and a second loan in the amount of $13,100 that was used to pay for insurance coverage for the city.
• Approved a recommendation from Mayor Virginia Davidson that the city apply for a Community Development Block Grant to pay for ditch work and work on a lift station in the city. She told the board the grant would be a 100 percent grant with no match required from the city.
“You can’t hardly go wrong with 100 percent,” Mrs. Davidson said.
• Was informed that the mayor will be attending an elected officials academy at the University of Tennessee at Martin on March 4-5. She invited others on the board to consider attending the grant, with the city paying the $50 fee for the academy.
• Agreed to seek bids for mowing services in the city for the upcoming mowing season.
Last Thursday’s meeting was opened with prayer by Charles Argo.
Published in The Messenger 2.14.11

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