​Sewanee Village: New Amenities for Downtown

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Donors who contributed to the Tiger Tuesday fundraiser generated $24,360 earmarked for enhancing downtown Sewanee. Thanks to their generosity, comfortable Adirondack chairs will soon be located throughout the Village and residents and visitors will have access to free Wi-Fi in Angel Park. Frank Gladu, who oversees the Sewanee Village project, announced the new downtown amenities at the June 4 Sewanee Village update meeting. Gladu also reviewed new developments in the priority initiatives guiding the Village five-year plan.

The Sewanee Business Alliance will collaborate with the Sewanee Village project to purchase the chairs. Discussing use of the remainder of the Tiger Tuesday funds, Gladu said other amenities under consideration included picnic tables, hammocks and Adirondack chairs in front of Shenanigans; pole banners; flags; landscaping in front of the American Legion Hall; water bowls and waste bags for pets; a trailhead with a message board or brochure rack for the Mountain Goat Trail; a mural on the side of Taylor’s Mercantile; and bike lanes.

Gladu acknowledged bike lanes could reduce the limited parking downtown and the wall at Taylor’s would need refurbished in order to accommodate a mural. “We don’t have enough money to repair the wall,” Gladu said.

Gladu likewise cited limited resources as a problem in response to proposals to use the Tiger Tuesday funds for flowerboxes and trash and recycling receptacles. Gladu explained he lacked the manpower to tend flowerboxes and maintain trash and recycling receptacles.

Melissa Watkins recommended asking the Sewanee Garden Club for assistance. Stephen Carter pointed out scouting programs were always looking for service projects.

Updating the group on BP Construction’s plans to build a mixed-use food market and apartment building on the corner of U.S. Hwy. 41A and Lake O’Donnell Road, Gladu said the developer had priced out the cost of construction and was working with the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission to determine site costs. Once the total cost is known, BP will be able to determine rental rates. According to Gladu, BP wants to lease 60 percent of the space before proceeding with construction. The proposed building will have 12 apartments on the second floor and 8,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with probably 5,000 square feet devoted to a food market, twice the size of the current Sewanee Market.

Commenting on the single-family housing proposals received from developers, Gladu cautioned, “We don’t want to overbuild.” The marketing study showed demand for a dozen faculty-staff single-family units. The University recently released 13 home building sites, 10 of which have been spoken for. Like the sites released by the University, Village housing will be offered for sale first to University employees and then to permanent residents, Gladu said. “Second homes are not a priority.” Village housing will be offered for sale to second homeowners only if the units do not sell in the other markets. The developers under review proposed both spec houses and pre-sale homes.

Gladu announced plans for a new 250-foot road connecting U.S. Hwy. 41A to Ballpark Road on the south side of the Sewanee Market. The new road will be a county project, Gladu said, but “we’ll need to come up with the funds.” He speculated preliminary design of the road might proceed, since the road design would need to be completed before the village green design could proceed. The green is proposed for the current Sewanee Market lot. Gladu stressed, however, the Sewanee Market would not be torn down until the mixed-used food market and apartment building was completed.