By DONNA RYDER
At least one Union City resident wants a policy change at Graham Park.
Samantha Jernigan of Union City said she would like for the Union City city council to change where people can smoke while visiting the park. She said currently they are allowed to smoke anywhere but in the stands, which basically means they cannot smoke in the concrete areas.
But, her main concern is that smokers can light up anywhere there is grass, including right behind the dugout. She had photographs to show people smoking right behind the children.
Mrs. Jernigan said the ideal thing would be to make the entire park non-smoking. What she requested was the council consider designating an area in the park, away from the children, for smoking.
She said a precedent has been set because the schools are non-smoking areas and the high school teams play at Graham Park.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison said when the Union City Greyhounds were playing, the Elam Stadium baseball field was non-smoking and people had to go outside the gates to light up.
Councilman Johnny Bacon suggested the council could speak with the parks director to work out a solution.
Mrs. Jernigan said she has spoken with Turf Management director Chris Crockett and he told her when people smoke in the grassy areas that is also where they dispose of their cigarette butts. So, he would also be in favor of designated smoking areas.
Mayor Terry Hailey told Mrs. Jernigan, “We had not thought of that. I’m glad you brought it to our attention.”
After the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Approved an architectural agreement for $56,989 between the city and A2H for construction of a new Carey Counseling building and agreed to enter into a Community Development Block Grant with Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for a grant not to exceed $300,000. The city has no monetary obligation in either action.
• Decided to postpone an agreement for the demolition of property at 604 North Division St. after Billy Autry questioned the process. Glasgow, who was conducting the meeting in the absence of city manager Kathy Dillon, told the council information provided to him by Ms. Dillon showed that of the four bids submitted for the job, only two met the specifications for workman’s comp coverage.
Autry’s Trenching bid for $6,000 and Ed McCord’s bid for $4,200 were the ones stated not to have met specifications. Scarbrough Towing’s bid of $6,000 and Hank Riley’s bid of $6,250 were the ones to be considered, with Scarbrough’s recommended.
Autry told the council he is listed as an exemption for workman’s comp, but he has paid for workman’s comp insurance.
• Received a letter from Police Chief Joe Garner dated April 16 announcing his retirement. It in he states, “After long deliberation and consideration, I am announcing that I will be retiring from the City of Union City effective 19 May 2012. It has been an honor and privilege to have served the City of Union City since 10 September 1979. Thank you for your support throughout all these years.”
When asked by the council why he decided to retire, Garner replied, “It’s time.” He said he plans to take a few months off and spend time with his grandchildren.
Hailey told Garner he appreciated what he had done for the city and that his service was always exemplary. “I’m sorry to see you retire,” he added.
• Discussed a problem Chuck Doss is having with placing a sign at his business because he has no street frontage. Bacon said the planning commission is considering the case and is trying to work out a solution. Apparently, Doss’ property is landlocked with parking lots and there is no exemption offered in the ordinance for his sign placement.
Hailey asked if the city council could make a one-time exception or if it would be best to let it be worked out by the planning commission. Glasgow said it would be best to let the planning commission handle it.
The mayor said he was concerned that it could take into the summer. “I don’t disagree. I just thought it might be a special circumstance,” he said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.02.12