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Options sought for glaring eyesore on Reelfoot Avenue

Options sought for glaring eyesore on Reelfoot Avenue
By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Once known to have displeased the noses of people driving through Union City, the Reelfoot Meat Packing Co. has, in recent years, offended the eyes.
The company, which was started by W.G. Reynolds in 1917 under the name Reynolds Packing Co., grew in size, slaughtering 3,180 head of livestock its first year to more than 20,000 in 1940, according to information printed in the 1981 edition of Obion County history.
Reynolds died in 1940 and T.J. Yarbrough was employed as general manager until 1946, when the plant was sold to Lorenz Neuhoff Jr. The company name was changed to Reelfoot Packing Co. in 1946.
In 1952, a new plant was started and, upon its completion in 1957, the old building was demolished and a new stock yard was constructed on the old plant site.
At the time of the writing of the history book in 1981, the company was slaughtering 843,000 head of livestock yearly and employed more than 700 people.
The company made meats products such as bacon, ham and sausage and was well known for its hot dogs, a treat served at the end of public tours. The plant closed in the 1990s and was purchased by a small group of local investors. Since that time, the building has been used as warehouse space, but most recently has sat vacant, falling apart brick by brick.
Union City Council members are reminded often by the public the old building is an eyesore and for years councilmen have been trying to work with the owners to get the property cleaned up. Most recently, the city hired an environmental attorney in Nashville to find out what its options are.
City manager Kathy Dillon informed the council Tuesday night she had been contacted by one of the owners, who said two leaning lamp posts have been removed, windows have been boarded up and the building has been secured. She said she was also told the owners are waiting on a dozer to clean up the west end of the building and, when that work is complete, the property will be placed on the market for sale.
City attorney Jim Glas-gow Jr. told the council he has been in contact with the environmental attorney and he recommended the city authorize the attorney to take proper steps through the state and federal environmental agencies.
Councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford asked Ms. Dillon if the owner said whether or not they are addressing the issue with the lagoon behind the building.
Ms. Dillon said he did not.
Cranford said he and the public are very concerned about the lagoon because weeds have been allowed to grow up around it and they are afraid someone could fall in the lagoon and drown.
Mayor Terry Hailey asked how long the city has been dealing with this property issue and stated the city had hired an attorney to see what it should do.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison replied it had been five to seven years and made a motion to move forward with turning the issue over to the environmental attorney.
The motion passed unanimously.
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by Glasgow, the council:
• Learned that Glasgow is close to making a recommendation on transferring county property to the city. He said it is “trickier than swapping a deed.”
• Approved budget ordinances on second readings.
The 2011-12 fiscal year budget appropriations include $11,452,202 in the General Fund, $300,000 in the State Street Aid Fund, $100,000 in traffic fines revenue fund, $197,598 in the Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund, $45,000 in the Drug Enforcement Fund, $8,115 in the City Beautiful Commission Fund, $130,000 in the Hotel Motel Tax Fund, $1,800,000 in the Solid Waste Fund, $5,187,317 in the Water and Sewer Funds, $24,823,696 in the Electric System Fund and $14,556,825 in the School System Fund, bringing the total appropriations to $58,601,753.
The tax rate was increased by one cent to $2.12. Ms. Dillon said it is the same tax rate assessed by the city in the year 2000.
Hotel/Motel Tax Fund appropriations approved included 42 percent to the Obion County Industrial Development Corp., 39 percent to the Obion County Chamber of Commerce, 14 percent to Main Street-Union City and 5 percent to the city’s General Fund.
The council also approved a revised salary plan and merit system for the city, which includes a 2 percent pay increase included in the budget.
Ms. Dillon said the one- cent property tax increase amounts to $2.50 for a $100,000 home per year. She said the 2 percent pay increase for the employees is about $500 per year before taxes. She added although the employees received a 3 percent pay increase in last year’s budget, they did not receive increases in 2008 or 2009 and in 2009 had to start paying the full family medical coverage at a cost of $800 per month.
She said the staff has decreased over the years, but the work load has not. She also stated that city employees are “always on the clock” no matter if they are at the grocery store or at church because people address them with problems in the city. “They all understand it comes with the job,” she said, adding she applauds their work ethic and their dedication is appreciated.
• Heard a proclamation recognizing Lawrence L. Reddick III, bishop of CME Church.
• Agreed to install 18 signs directing motorists to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City. BMH will pay the $1,055 for the signs.
• Heard from Public Works director Steve Ladd that the city has had a rash of street sign thefts. He said some of them have been recovered from all over the county and from scrap yards as well.
In a related matter, Hailey asked Ladd to see if the state will change the exit sign on Highway 22 from the stated street number to Nailling Drive. Ladd said he would see what he could do.
• Voted to solicit bids for a two-ton pickup for the street department.
• Reminded councilmen that due to changes in restrictions, Union City will not be sponsoring any Halloween activities.
• Was informed the state was to start milling Everett Boulevard today from Section Line Road to Reelfoot Avenue.
• Heard from councilman Judy Robinson that a Lynn Street resident would like for the city to place a sign on Lynn Street restricting traffic so Tyson trucks cannot drive on the roadway.
Ms. Dillon suggested the council could address the weigh limit on the roadway, while Hailey said it would be a police department issue.
The city manager said she would have both the police department and the planning department look into it.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.5.11

1 Comment

  1. Betty isbell on January 5, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Why not put offices or apartments in teleport blding. It is a scene from the past. It is a business everyone can relate to. The local
    Kids should remember a landmark from the past and be proud of the business it was.

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