South Pittsburg Continues Toward Flood Fixes

South Pittsburg, Tenn. – South Pittsburg’s municipal legislative board assembled for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting recently. A somewhat routine meeting was sprinkled with some questions and a glimpse of things to come. Many residents will be pleased at the amount of time spent looking toward analyzing the city’s flooding issues. The pursuit of a management solution for the Princess Theatre continues toward the deadline. The board also entertained a couple of beer permits for the city.

Largely through the efforts and contacts of Commissioner Matt Stone, the city had contracted several months back with Mark Heinzer to explore further solutions for the city’s flooding issues. Heinzer was on hand to give the board an update as to what was to be done. “One of the first things we identified was that we really don’t know what we have underground with regard to the pipes that carry the water,” Heinzer continued, “So one of the things we did was we set up an inspection plan to try to inspect those and see. Flooding happens for a number of reasons. One, the pipe is blocked. Two, a pipe is too small, or three it’s just too much rain and sometimes you just can’t avoid it. But we know that we’ve got pipes in the ground here that are blocked and pipes that go under buildings that may be crushed. And there are pipes that we don’t even know where they are. So one of the things we needed to do was do some inspection and also to get some mapping done and try to figure out where these are so that we can have a plan to manage them going forward. So we’re not just being reactive to flooding, but being proactive in a sense of we know what assets we have in the ground. And then we know to go out there and do those things.” Heinzer also pointed out that the mapping process was on its way. “The other thing that we just finished up doing was getting solicitations from survey companies that can go and identify these for our mapping programs.”

Related to the yet-to-be completed survey, Stone also requested the board entertain the notion of putting the various repairs on a schedule. “I know we keep doing workshops, but, maybe after the Princess workshop, maybe we could get in to where the board could be there with Mark Heinzer to hear what he had to say and public works. Just so everybody knows that maybe what kind of schedule we’re going to have moving forward on doing some of these things that on the inspection forms so if somebody in district one, asks Mrs. Kellermann about a district one ditch being cleaned out, she can say, ‘Oh, well, that is scheduled for the third week of next month. ‘ That way we’re all on the same page and we communicate with the community and let them know kind of what’s going on.” The board was generally supportive of the idea, but a specific workshop was not  scheduled.

The city continues to look for a management solution for the Princess Theatre. An inquiry from Commissioner Cheryl Kellermann prompted City Administrator Gene Vess to say, “We do have three requests out right now and they’re going over them and deciding what they can do and what they can’t do. One of them is out of town. Two of them are local.” Vess added that the proposals were due back by the end of the month. An important caveat to this management agreement is that it is not a paid position with the city.

City Mayor Samantha Rector brought up a problem plaguing most municipalities. The city had recently allocated money to fix the bathrooms at Lloyd Park as more and more programs were being held there with new Park Director Cody Henegar in place. However, under the “no good deed goes unpunished adage, Rector said, “We made the bathrooms at the park so everybody would have a bathroom. Every day they’re vandalized. The toilets are stopped up. We do have cameras outside the doors, but you can’t judge, because people go in and out, how are you going to know which one was the one to make a mess? So I don’t know what to do. I had a couple that enjoyed them. They said they walk every afternoon. They stopped by last week to use them and they called me. They said come in here and look at these bathrooms and I went and looked at them and they were awful.” Henegar said the park personnel check the restrooms in the morning and in the evenings, but never seems to reveal the culprit. Rector added, “So we try to do nice things for everybody and we can’t take care of them. So, I don’t know what the answer is.”

General issues brought up:

  • Resident Carolyn Milhiser, along with the South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society, was recognized for recently receiving the Merit Award from the Tennessee Historic Commission
  • Commissioner Allison Buchanan asked for a significant pothole on Elm be addressed ; Street Department’s Russell McCain indicated that would be taken care of
  • Buchanan also resurrected her question from last Christmas season about the city’s remaining working lit decorations being available for the park’s decoration this Christmas; McCain indicated the department would try and get a count on the working number available as time allowed
  • Stone announced he had received compliment on the police department’s recent handling of an apparent dog bite of a child
  • Vess mentioned that the board was being asked to consider a photo speeder enforcement program for only school zones. City attorney Billy Gouger expressed skepticism because it was his belief that the law required that misdemeanors take place in the presence of an officer, but said he would review
  • Vess requested the board approve a bid request go out for a new bucket for a backhoe which exceeded the threshold to make a simple purchase. The board approved
  • The board approved two beer permit recommendations from the Beer Board; one was a charitable organization special events permit for the “Just One More” organization and one traditional on premises permit for an upcoming restaurant on the 600 block of US 72. Vice Mayor Lancaster cast the only dissenting vote in the 4-1 approval on both
  • City was informed that the anticipated delivery date for the new fire truck has been bumped out until October instead of the expected August delivery date
  • Park flag football league is set for inaugural season; two teams: a Kindergarten to first grade team and a second/third grade team; league includes Middle Valley and East Ride

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