​Monteagle Challenges: Dump Pressure, MGT Interstate Crossing

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 29 meeting, the Monteagle City Council took up two longtime challenges: pressure on the city dump from businesses and building contractors and how to get the Mountain Goat Trail across I-24. The council also approved purchase of digital speed signs and a Utility Department vehicle, and adopted a Hazard Mitigation Plan.

“On weekends, area residents get turned away at the dump because the facilities are full,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam. He blamed the problem on dumping by businesses and building contractors.

An area resident said the Sewanee Convenience Center recently advised her she could no longer bring trash and recycling because she lived in Grundy County. She suggested Monteagle take advantage of monetizing recycling.

Another resident asked if Monteagle turned away Franklin County residents.

“No,” Gilliam said. “We want to accommodate all citizens. If we get the commercial end cleaned up, we’ll have plenty of room for residents.” The Monteagle dump prohibits commercial dumping. Gilliam recommended all businesses and builders be required to have dumpsters and to create a city-regulations handbook for police guidance.

“Recycled cardboard is more valuable than pulpwood,” a resident pointed out. Gilliam said the city was pursuing cardboard recycling with a Winchester vendor. The resident suggested the city also investigate a cardboard recycler used by the Smokehouse.

Nate Wilson, board president of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance (MGTA), updated the council on Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) plans to redo the deteriorating western travel lane on the Highway 41A bridge crossing I-24 and to incorporate the MGT crossing in the plan. “TDOT will tear down the western travel lane and the old railroad bridge and build a single new bridge with a 10-foot walkway,” Wilson said.

Gilliam asked about the water and gas utilities crossing the interstate on the old railroad bridge. According to Wilson, TDOT said they would pay for the relocation.

With funds earmarked for a railroad-bridge trail crossing freed up, the MGTA hopes to extend the trail from the interstate to DuBose Conference Center.

In other business, the council approved purchasing a digital speed sign, cost $2,747. The device slows traffic by alerting motorists of their speed. The police department will purchase another sign with a grant. Police Chief Jack Hill recommend the city have two. The pole-mounted digital signs can be moved to different locations as needed.

“The digital signs are as good as having another patrol car to slow traffic,” Gilliam said.

The council also approved the Utility Department’s request to purchase a side-by-side utility vehicle for use by the sewer plant, as well as for ballfield and MGT maintenance, cost $8,999. Mayor David Sampley noted another possible use would be rescues on sections of the trail not accessible by ambulance.

The Hazard Mitigation Resolution adopted by the council affirms Monteagle’s participation in Marion County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. Being officially affiliated with Marion County’s HMP will help Monteagle secure FEMA funds to address disasters like the 2019 Laurel Lake Road flooding, and to pay for preventative measures.

Monteagle’s July 4 parade participants will lineup at 9 a.m. behind the Smokehouse, except for bikes and horses which will start from the Church of Christ. Judging will be at 9:30 a.m.

Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. at the ballpark. “This year, the city will celebrate with four trailers of fireworks instead of the usual two,” Sampley said.

Revisiting the May discussion about the travel center proposed for I-24 exit 135, Gilliam said the Southeast Development District questioned whether the franchisees could build onto an existing facility. The Monteagle Planning Commission will take up the travel center at the July 7 meeting.