​Downtown Development Update

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“There are five priority projects we hope to realize in the next five years,” said Frank Gladu, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, providing an overview of changes Sewanee residents can expect as the University pursues implementing the Sewanee Village Plan.
The 2011 University Master Plan included revisioning the downtown area, and two years ago, the University retained town planner Brian Wright to create a road map for that vision.
The five projects on the front burner are the Highway 41A intersection, a grocery-type market, housing, relocating the University bookstore to downtown and a village green.
Construction to narrow Highway 41A will begin in early 2018, according to Gladu. “Narrowing the highway will calm traffic and make crossing less intimidating,” Gladu said. To further foster user friendliness, the intersection plan approved by the Tennessee Department for Transportation calls for street lights, sidewalks and a pedestrian activated crosswalk.
Redesigning the intersection is key since realization of the other four priorities will give residents increasing occasion to cross to the non-campus side of the highway.
In the Hair Depot’s current location, plans call for a grocery store type market four to five times the size of the local convenience market. The grocery will offer fresh produce, meats, dairy products and foods to prepare meals with, rather than just ready-to-eat foods.
Not far from the grocery, in a wooded area adjacent to Prince Lane (cattycorner to the Community Center), the design projects cottage court type housing with as many as 42 living spaces.
The plan also envisions nine single- family residences, multi-family homes with as many as 25 living spaces, and apartments on the upper level of all commercial buildings on both sides of the highway.
“The variety of residence types will make housing in Sewanee more affordable,” Gladu said. “We don’t really have that now. The cost of large homes creates a market that’s very challenging for someone starting out.”
“The residence variety called for in the plan is also making Sewanee attractive to developers,” he pointed out.
“We’re close to reaching an agreement with several developers, both in residential and commercial components of the plan,” Gladu said. He cited the grocery, bookstore and Southern Tennessee Regional Health Systems (STRHS) interest in locating a clinic in downtown Sewanee.
One scenario under consideration by STRHS is a clinic with rotating specialties.
Gladu wants to see relocating the bookstore to downtown “on a faster track.” The bookstore will continue to offer student course materials. “We’re evaluating sites,” Gladu said. “Once we decide on a site, it will take another couple months to design the structure, and probably a year for construction.”
Plans call for the village green to be located on the present Sewanee Market lot. “We envision the green as a place for people to gather, a site for festivals and perhaps a location for the Sewanee Gardeners’ Market,” Gladu explained, noting that parking on the bordering streets was a possibility.
Gladu assumed the role of Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor in January allowing him to focus full time on the senior living project Arcadia and downtown development. His office in the Lease Office “Blue House” at 400 University Avenue makes him easily accessible to residents who have questions about the Village Plan. You can also reach him at <fxgladu@sewanee.edu>.
The Downtown Development project will host an open house from noon to 2 p.m., Tuesday, July 4, at the Lease Office.
Needs such as affordable housing and a grocery have been on Sewanee’s wish list for a long time, Gladu insisted, but “if we’d allowed the real estate market to do what it wanted to do when it wanted to do it, the result would be a hodgepodge.” He sees the Village Plan as a way for these dreams to be realized while preserving the character of the Sewanee village longtime residents love.

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​Monteagle Council Considers Midterm Alderman Election; Approves Budget

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 26 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council voted to appoint Chris Ladd to fill one of two vacant alderman seats. The motion to appoint John Knost to fill the other vacancy failed to receive a second.
The vacancies resulted from the resignation of Alderman Rusty Leonard and Alderwoman Delores Knott. Interested candidates were required to attend the May meeting. Only Knost and Ladd attended.
Alderman Kenneth Bishop initially made a motion to appoint both Knost and Ladd, but Mayor David Sampley said the candidates needed to be voted on separately. Bishop’s motion to appoint Knost failed to receive a second. Bishop seconded Vice-Mayor Jessica Blalock’s motion to appoint Ladd, and the motion received unanimous approval.
But following the vote, Bishop withdrew his second.
“In that case, we can’t do anything,” Sampley said. The vote was declared invalid at the meeting. City Recorder Debbie Taylor later consulted with MTAS (the Municipal Technical Advisory Service) who said the vote stood.
Following up on the suggestion of a visitor, Sampley will contact the election commission to check on the legality of a midterm election to fill the remaining vacancy. “It would be expensive,” Sampley cautioned.
The council approved the 2017-2018 budget. The budget calls for the purchase of two new police cruisers. Police Chief Virgil McNeese said the state contract listed the price as $29,310 each, noting that last year the cost was $35,000. The council approved the purchase at the 2017 contract price.
Fire Chief Mike Holmes said he only received two replies to his request for quotes on the repair of engine number one. Taylor said two quotes were sufficient if an effort had been made to get three quotes.
The council approved Holmes’ recommendation to have the repair done by the Monteagle Rocky Top Truck Stop, the low bidder at $55,045. “I prefer local, and they’re equipped to do it,” Holmes said. He noted the department would have easy access to equipment on the truck if needed.
The council also approved Holmes request to enter into an Automatic Mutual Aid contract with Pelham Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
“We need an additional contract to get an upgrade on our ISO rating,” Holmes said. The department already has a contract with Sewanee and in the past had a contract with Tracy City, “but it was very one sided,” according to Holmes.
The council approved on second reading rezoning to accommodate a concrete plant even though negotiations fell through with the company considering locating in Monteagle. “We may be able to find another concrete company,” said realtor Jimmy Jernigan. “There’s no concrete plant on the mountain. There’s a definite need.”
Codes Enforcement officer Earl Geary said he’d prioritized eight out of 19 property maintenance issues. The owners of two structures had completed the legal process necessary for the city to proceed with demolition, but Geary stressed, “The city won’t be reimbursed for the cost of the demo until the properties sell.
“If the city chooses to perform maintenance, such as mowing the grass on neglected property, the city could place a lien on the property to recover expenses,” Geary said.
A visitor proposed the city hire an officer to assist Geary. “He’s overwhelmed. These old houses have been here for years. If we want the town cleaned up, we need to do something.”
“Think about what you may need so far as help is concerned and get back to us,” Sampley advised Geary.
Updating the council on progress in selecting an auditor, Sampley said the city’s accountant recommended accepting the $17,000 bid from BCS accounting services. Last year’s audit cost $35,000. The board approved the recommendation.
Blalock heads up the Parks and Recreation Department. Bishop asked if Blalock serving as both an alderman and department head violated policy. Taylor will research the question with MTAS.
The alderman discussed availing themselves of MTAS training.
The council meets next Monday, July 24.

​School Board Finalizes Budget; Approves Bean Contract


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the June 22 special called meeting, the Franklin County School Board finalized the budget for the 2017–18 school year, requesting an $842,000 increase in property tax revenue compared to last year. The board also approved a two-year contract for newly appointed director of schools Stanley Bean, who will take office July 1, replacing Director Amie Lonas who recently resigned.
Lonas’ draft budget recommended requesting a $492,000 increase in property tax revenue, citing a 6.9 percent increase in medical insurance costs (total $405,000) and $562,000 decrease in Basic Education Program (BEP) funding from the state.
“The only place we can get the additional revenue needed is from property taxes,” Lonas said. Property values in the county have increased, she explained, but the state’s recommendation is to keep the amount collected at the same level by decreasing the value of the penny.
If the property tax rate remained the same, the county would collect $2 million more in property tax revenue, Lonas noted.
Lonas stressed that paying 90 percent of medical insurance was a crucial “recruiting incentive.”
Board member Gary Hanger agreed. “If we start making teachers pay more of the insurance, they’ll look to other systems for employment.”
Lonas’ draft budget also included a 2 percent salary increase for both certified and support employees. For the coming year, the state is requiring $487,000 of the BEP money go for raising teachers’ salaries, she said, and a 2 percent increase was needed to meet that goal.
Lonas expressed concern that the budget would require the school system to draw $2 million from the fund balance, leaving only $2.8 million in the fund balance at the end of the 2017–18 school year. “This is not sustainable,” Lonas insisted.
Sewanee school board representative Adam Tucker proposed the board request an additional $350,000 in property tax revenue, half of the amount necessary to implement the 2 percent salary increases for certified and support employees (total cost, $700,000).
The board incorporated Tucker’s suggestion and amended the budget, increasing the total property tax revenue request to $10.1 million. The board approved the budget unanimously.
Turning to the contract of newly appointed director of schools Stanley Bean, Board Chair Cleijo Walker said, “The salary amount must be above the highest paid salary we have, which is $98,500.”
The board unanimously approved board member Lance Williams’ recommendation they set Bean’s salary at $108,500, which is 10 percent above the current highest salary.
Leading up to the final vote on approval of the contract, Tucker announced, “I am voting ‘no,’ but it’s not due to lack of faith in Stanley Bean. You’ll have my full support,” Tucker said, turning to address Bean. “I can’t approve the contract because of the way we got here. I’d vote ‘yes,’ if we’d conducted a search.”
At the outset of the meeting, Franklin County Education Association (FCEA) President Anna Mullin addressed the board expressing concern about the manner in which Bean was appointed to the office of director of schools. “The decision that took place was not legal,” Mullin said, insisting she spoke as a parent and community member, not as an FCEA representative. “You didn’t follow your policy at all. I have no issue with Mr. Bean and hope his tenure is successful. I am not trying to change anything. But if you can disregard that policy, you can disregard others. I hope in the future, the board will carefully consider before taking any action that is contradictory to current policy.” Note: The policy identifies practices and procedures for conducting a search for and reviewing the credentials of qualified applicants. The board appointed Bean without conducting a candidate search or review.
Like Tucker, board member Sara Liechty said she was unable to vote in favor of the contract. “I tie my concerns to those of Miss Mullins. I’ll fully support Stanley Bean, and I recognize his strong support in the community, but policy was violated. I know Bean needs a contract, so I can’t vote against it, but nor I can’t vote it.”
In the roll call vote that followed, Tucker voted, “no,” and Liechty voted, “present,” with the other six board members voting for approval.
Defending her motion at the June 12 meeting to appoint Stanley Bean director of schools, board member Linda Jones said a number of constituents contacted her and advised, “‘Don’t do a search. Appoint Stanley Bean.’” Jones noted Bean was the runner up in the review process that resulted in Lonas’ selection. “I don’t apologize for making that motion,” Jones said. “When I arrived at the meeting on June 12, I saw school attorney Chuck Cagel’s proposal and timeline for conducting a search, and I thought, ‘Why in the world would we wait until September to select a director when we have someone who can do the job.’”
The board meets next on Monday, July 10.

​Bond and Ward to Perform at All Saints’ Chapel


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Peter Bond, trumpet professor for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, will play with university organist and choirmaster Geoffrey Ward during the service in All Saint’s Chapel on Sunday, July 2.
Bond, who is entering his sixth SSMF summer, first began his summer stint in Sewanee as a substitute for a colleague at the festival.
“Peter and I met last summer in the dining hall at the salad bar, and I looked at him, and I said ‘I don’t know you, but I know you’re the trumpet professor, and it’s been a treat to hear you play,’” said Ward. “I told him that if it was ever an option, I’d love to have him play at All Saints’, and he lit up.”
And so the planning began.
“It’s always great to be here. It’s also nice to interact with musicians and people who live here—to not just come in and go away,” said Bond. “It’s like you’re contributing to the life of the community.”
It was this aspect of the Sewanee community that made agreeing to take part in a Sunday service so easy.
Both Bond and Ward said it is what they hope will be the beginning of a valuable partnership between the SSMF and the chapel.
“It’s my goal to have more musicians and students of the festival playing and sharing their gifts at All Saints’ going forward. I think this is a great way to get that process started and in the future,” said Ward. “I hope we are able to get [the student] musicians involved in the musical life of the chapel, as it is the center of the university and the primary academic room we use on campus.”
Preparation for the duo began when Bond arrived on the mountain. The two have prepared pieces by George Frideric Handel and Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, pieces that, according to Ward, will feature Bond on trumpet and Ward on the organ. Ward, who studied trumpet at university, said the organ and the trumpet are a beautiful pairing.
For Bond, the point of students coming to the mountain for the festival is to learn all they can, and having access to professional musicians like Ward on campus is a benefit.
“Later on, perhaps I can bring my students over, and they can learn how to play a wedding or how to play a worship service. Trumpet players do a lot of this kind of work, and this is an opportunity for students to learn even more,” said Bond.
Ward said Bond’s presence in the Sewanee community as an instructor for the festival is a “gift that keeps on giving.”
“Any time you get to interact with anyone who is at the top of their profession is an opportunity to learn, be educated and be inspired. He’s really immersing himself in the festival and the community, and it’s to our benefit,” said Ward. “It’s wonderful to have Peter here to help inspire us in our worship experience. It reminds us that this is one of the great centers of teaching and learning in the country.”
Bond and Ward will play together during the 11 a.m., Sunday service on July 2 in All Saints’ Chapel.

​Pop-Up Sale Will Offer Art, Rugs and Champagne


by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer
Pearl’s Fine Dining opened in December under new ownership with rave reviews for the braised beef brisket, but on Sunday, July 2, the eatery will boast creations other than culinary art.
From 1 to 7 p.m., Pearl’s Pop Up Art & Rug Sale will display Turkish and Persian rugs from Morningside Rugs & Art in Atlanta, as well as works from Stanford Fine Art gallery in Nashville and Becky Braddock Pottery in Chattanooga.
“Perhaps the concept of ‘pop up retail’ is better known in urban environs. It is just that…it pops up one day and is gone, if not the next, soon thereafter,” said Lucy Keeble, owner of Morningside Rugs & Art. “Robert Tyler agreed to let us use his space as he is keen to bring new folks in for the sale hoping that they will come back one day very soon for dinner.”
Keeble said Tyler, Pearl’s manager, along with his wife Susie, will host the event, which includes free canapés and champagne.
“It will be a convivial affair,” Keeble said.
Lydia Denkler, director of Stanford Fine Arts, said the gallery specializes in American and European paintings, sculpture and works on paper from the 19th century to present.
Denkler has been an art consultant and dealer for more than a decade in New York and Nashville. Her mother, Margaret Woods, and two sisters live in the Clifftops community in Monteagle. She said she’s excited to show gallery selections at her “second home” on the Mountain.
“As the newest member of the (Stanford) team, I bring experience in the planning and organization of a broad range of projects from advising individuals in the creation and growth of private collections to providing curatorial advice and consultations for galleries, museums, interior designers and other institutions,” Denkler said.
Braddock has worked in various mediums, but she said making pots is a special passion.
“My pottery is wheel-thrown and hand-built from stoneware and porcelain clays,” she said. “I love fish and birds and perching them on top of my pots. I never fail to get a rush from modeling a Carolina wren from Carolina clay. I continue to be challenged by the creative possibilities of being a potter.”
A Sewanee graduate, Keeble has collected rugs for more than 40 years.
“I hand-pick hand-knotted Turkish, Persian and Morrocan vegetable-dyed beauties from around the world, be they vintage, semi-antique or antique,” she said. “I offer both investment and museum quality rugs, but also expect my more affordable rugs to stand the test of time.”
Keeble said she plans to bring a variety of smaller room-size rugs, accent rugs and runners to the event.
“I like to encourage people to think of their floors, more like their walls, as large canvases upon which to draw,” she said. “We often look down when we walk about our homes, so doesn’t it make sense that we should put some art under our feet?”
She also plans to bring some intriguing items, possibilities include a rare antique tea caddy, a mid-century Matador sculpture, Turkish kilim pillow covers and flow blue china.
Dede Clements, owner of Edgeworth Inn, a co-sponsor of the event, came up with the idea for the pop-up art show. She is an art collector and promotor, who co-chairs Art for the Park at Trails & Trilliums. Through the Edgeworth Inn, Clements also represents Sewanee artist Bob Short.
Pearl’s Fine Dining is located at 15344 Sewanee Highway.

​Yellow Dandies at Angel Park

Friday Nights in the Park, sponsored by the Sewanee Business Alliance (SBA), continues today (Friday), June 30, with the Yellow Dandies. The rain location is the American Legion Hall.

University Avenue will be closed at 6 p.m. for the annual outdoor family event, with food and drink from local vendors available for purchase. The entertainers play from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Angel Park Pavilion. This event is free and open to the public. 
The Yellow Dandies, including accomplished musicians and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee alumni Keystone Hill (Bailey Hill) and Ben Hood (Ben Ayers), combines, as they describe it “old-time string band music with the weirdness of Zappa, the heart of Hartford, and the idiotic fury of The Pogues.” Hill and Hood are joined by Wink Crittendon on bass and Aerin de Russy on fiddle. Hill, Hood, and the Yellow Dandies are out to showcase American folk music’s wild roots and introduce it to new audiences in a provocative way.
The SBA is sponsoring a reverse raffle to benefit Angel Park and the Community Action Committee, with a chance for participants to win up to $10,000.
Tickets are $100 each, and no more than 500 tickets will be sold. Tickets are for sale at the following local businesses: Locals, Woody’s Bicycles ,Lemon Fair, The Blue Chair and University Realty. Tickets may also be purchased online at <sewaneeangelpark.com>.
During each Friday Nights in the Park event, there will be a drawing for a special prize. The ticket drawn will be placed back in the pool for another chance to win. On the last night, July 14, the $10,000 grand prize drawing will be held. Participants do not have to be present to win.
The rest of the lineup for Friday Nights in the park is The Top Tier Band on July 7, and C-Mac and the Madras Men on July 14.

​Anderson Named as Executive Director of St. Mary’s Sewanee

St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development is pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr. E. Lucius “Andy” Anderson III as its fourth Executive Director effective in early September. Anderson joins St. Mary’s Sewanee to continue building upon St. Mary’s Sewanee’s vision, expanding reach and facilities development that have marked its growth over the last decade.

Anderson most recently has served as the Rector of the Church of the Nativity in Huntsville, Ala., since 2003. Anderson brought stability and growth in ministries to the 1,800-member parish, initially leading the parish through a long-range visioning process that resulted in master planning and a $4.2 million successful capital campaign to renovate the 1859 National Historic Landmark Church and eliminate the parish’s debt to acquire adjacent property in downtown Huntsville. After physically “building the Church,” Anderson spent his energy and leadership “building the church spiritually in formation, mission, and ministry,” embracing the Catechumenate for new member incorporation, RenewalWorks Spiritual Development Ministries of Forward Movement and expanding the parish’s outreach efforts including establishing one of the south’s premier local Grower’s and Artisan Markets, The Greene Street Market at Nativity. Nativity has a long tradition of supporting Centering Prayer, and Anderson is in the process of becoming a certified Centering Prayer Workshop Facilitator through Contemplative Outreach.
Before his tenure at Nativity, Anderson served as Rector of Grace Church in Anderson, S.C., where he led the parish through extensive strategic planning and a capital campaign to renovate and expand the historic church. Anderson initially served in ordained ministry at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Ga., as Canon Educator for Children, Youth and Family Ministries, embracing and leading a vision for ministry that saw tremendous growth.
R. Dale Grimes, President of the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s Sewanee, said “The Board of Trustees is thrilled to welcome Andy as the new executive director of St. Mary’s Sewanee. Andy is absolutely the right person to take on these duties at this time. He brings to St. Mary’s Sewanee his extensive experience in spiritual development programming and activities, service to and leadership in the Episcopal Church, financial and administrative acumen and significant and proven fundraising ability. We are excited about the possibilities for our future with Andy as our Executive Director as we enter a new phase of growth in programming and campus development.”
In recent years, St. Mary’s Sewanee has accomplished a number of goals in the plans envisioned by the Board. The Anna House, completed four years ago as the Center’s newest lodging facility, has been fully brought on line, providing more hospitality options for its guests by allowing accommodation of larger groups as well as simultaneous use by multiple groups. The quality and number of its programs have increased, including a new relationship with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, which has commenced a four-part program, the Soul of Leadership, at St. Mary’s Sewanee. Many other programs offered by long-time St. Mary’s Sewanee presenters have been able to make use of the Center’s new and upgraded facilities on a year-round basis.
Anderson returns to the Mountain with the enthusiasm and skills to lead St. Mary’s Sewanee forward in this ongoing expansion of facilities and programs. “I first experienced St. Mary’s as a thin holy place of spiritual connection to God on an Advent Quiet Day my first year at the School of Theology in 1991. I returned to St. Mary’s many times during seminary years to know the quiet and refreshment from the beauty of holiness St. Mary’s offers,” Anderson remarks. “After beginning a Centering Prayer practice in the late 1990s, I began attending retreats and other events at St. Mary’s. It’s a part of my spiritual DNA and has continued to enrich and enliven my life and ministry. I have been nurtured by St. Mary’s mission and its heart of prayerfulness and it will be a privilege to give back to this sacred and beautiful place that has given so much to me and to others. I am excited to continue my journey in the capacity as Executive Director and look forward to the great work of building upon what John Runkle and the fine staff and St. Mary’s Board have launched. I believe in our mission, having served with fundraising efforts to help get us where we are today. I look forward to leading the efforts to allow others to be a part of contributing to St. Mary’s mission with their time, talent and financial resources.”
A native of Statesboro, Ga., Anderson holds a Doctor of Ministry and a Masters of Divinity honoris causa from The School of Theology at Sewanee, a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Georgia. Prior to ordination in 1994, Anderson had a successful career in corporate banking with the SunTrust Banks. He has served the wider church and Sewanee in many capacities and looks forward to strengthening St. Mary’s connections to the wider Church as well as in interfaith collaborations. He and his wife Tippy have been married for almost 36 years and have two adult children, Case and Sally, who like Andy and Tippy, consider Sewanee home.

​Benjamins to Lead the Fourth of July Parade

The Fourth of July committee is proud to announce the grand marshals for the 31st annual celebration are Eric and Michelle Benjamin, Sewanee residents for more than 36 years.

Eric and Michelle (Mitchell) have lived most of their married life in Sewanee. Eric grew up the oldest of three children and Michelle grew up the second oldest of 10 children in North Carolina. After graduating from Marist School in Atlanta, Eric started his freshman year at the University of the South in 1969.
After graduating from law school, Eric and Michelle married in 1980. In 1981, they moved to Sewanee. Eric, an alumni of the University, accepted the offer to begin a Minority Student Affairs Program, with leadership provided by members of the faculty. There were two African American students on campus that year. Eric worked diligently to increase the number of African American and other multi-cultural students on the campus and his success is demonstrated by those students having a high retention rate at the college. In 1981, Michelle began employment as a staff attorney with Legal Services and in 1989 opened her private law office in Winchester, where she continues to practice. Michelle was founding member of the Franklin County Community Association and has served on the Board of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers, Tennessee Judicial Selection Committee and the Board of Professional Responsibility.
The Benjamins have three children, Vincent, Keenan, and Michael, who attended Sewanee Elementary School and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. Along the way, they played soccer, t-ball, baseball, tennis and basketball. Team participation was a great way for the family to get to know and make life-long friends with members of the Sewanee community.
Vincent, his wife Heather, and their two daughters live in New Jersey. Keenan is living in Delhi, India and Michael lives in North Carolina.
The Benjamins appreciate the honor of serving as grand marshals of the Fourth of July parade.

​SUD Gets Update on Constructed Wetlands

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 20 meeting, student researchers updated the Sewanee Utility District Board on the Constructed Wetlands project located at the SUD Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), a pilot study undertaken jointly by the University of Georgia (UGA) and the University of the South, examining wetlands’ effectiveness in removing contaminants and noxious nutrients from wastewater.
Water is pumped from the WWTP lagoons into a supply tank that feeds three sequential basins planted with native Tennessee species known to be effective in absorbing nutrients. This summer marks the first year of the wetlands operation.
Environment and Sustainability major Megan Hopson, a May graduate of the University of the South, said her thesis project looked at the wetlands effectiveness in reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and E. coli bacteria. Tests showed dramatic decreases in nitrogen and bacteria levels and modest but significant decreases in levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus is retained in sediment, Hopson explained, making it necessary to monitor data over several years to accurately interpret results.
Data showing a leveling off, or plateau effect, in nutrient removal over time suggested a need to replace the plants in a basin, Hopson said.
In addition to efficacy in absorbing nutrients, “plants were selected for their tolerance to water depth in the basin where they were planted, beauty, and the ability to attract pollinators,” said biology professor Deborah McGrath, who along with forestry professor Scott Torreano, heads up the Sewanee research team.
Charged with developing and implementing a public outreach campaign, UGA graduate student Philipp Nussbaum said the historic drought of 2007 spawned the project as researchers began to look at wastewater treatment with a view to possible water reuse.
The advantages of wetlands wastewater treatment are superior effectiveness in removing nutrients and low operating costs, Nussbaum said.
“A constructed wetlands system could replace the SUD spray-fields wastewater treatment method,” Nussbaum speculated.
One of the questions researchers hope to answer is whether further treatment by spray-field application is necessary to achieve water of potentially potable quality.
The water from the SUD wetlands is returned to the lagoons.
Making a comparison to the water-reuse concept, board member Karen Singer noted that water slated for treatment as drinking water is frequently drawn from rivers in which upstream communities discharge treated wastewater.
SUD manager Ben Beavers was quick to point out, “We’re not doing this tomorrow.” SUD currently has no plans to pursue implementing water reuse practices.
Nussbaum said a 2015 survey of the Sewanee community showed that most people were unaware of what happened to their water after it went down the drain. He directed those wanting more information about the wetlands to the project website at <sewaneewetlands.org>.
The board requested annual updates on the project and expressed an interest in serving on an advisory committee charged with heightening public awareness about the community’s water supply.
In other business, Beavers updated the board on easement contract negotiations for the Cooley’s Rift development. Beavers said the SUD attorney was drafting a contract calling for a common rather than an exclusive easement requiring at least three feet of separation between SUD lines and lines from other utility providers. Beavers will present the finalized contract to the board for approval. He anticipates construction will begin in Aug.
The Midway pressure boosting station was in the final stages, Beavers said. “Everything is ready to go except for connecting the electrical and smoke testing.” Signing of the final easement necessary for completion of the project is expected in the near future. The SUD board meets next on July 25.

​County Commission Approves Budget Resolutions

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Resolutions to all budgets, fund balances and lease purchases were approved by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners during the June 19 meeting.
Andrea Smith, Director of Finance, said amendments to the Report of Revenues and Expenditures for March and April were commonplace for this time of year.
“This is just the year-end clean up amendment,” said Smith. “We had some revisions come up since the finance committee meeting.”
According to Smith, those revisions entail project preservation being operated out of the county general fund; an increase in revenue from the Health Department and a reduction in the funds for local health services to pay for the increase from the Health Department.
“The only fund where we had to use fund balance is the general debt service fund number, fund 151, for debt issuance on the jail construction expansion. There’s some upfront cost on that, which we don’t generally have budgeted,” said Smith. “We had a lot of maintenance issues this year which had been abnormal over the past few years—[things like] equipment, all funds and maintenance of buildings, as well as the normal ups and downs for jail inmate expenses.”
A motion to approve the recommendation from the Franklin County Regional Planning Commission for the rezoning of a 2.52-acre property on Highway 64 and Walnut Hill Road was carried by the commission.
Amendments to the Board of Education’s general purpose school budget were approved. Smith said she expects the final budget will be submitted for review by the finance committee early next month.
Also approved was a resolution to adopt a new public records policy.
“We currently have a public records policy for anyone to do a request for the county. The state passed the legislation earlier in the year, and they put more stipulations in the minimum requirements. We worked with Ben Lynch [city attorney] and looked at our current policy to draft a new policy. It has to be approved by June 30.”
This policy states that the policy is being adopted to “ provide economical and efficient access to public records as provided under the Tennessee Public Records Act (TPRA).”
Iris Rudder, seat B for the 1st District, motioned to approve a litigation fee request by Haven of Hope, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
The next county commission meeting will be at 7 p.m., Monday, July 17, in the Franklin County Courthouse.

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