Monteagle Jump Starts Park and Recreation Amenities
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Aug. 30 Monteagle Council meeting, alderwoman Jessica Favaloro provided an overview of parks and recreation plans for the coming year which include new playground equipment and a public fishing area. The council approved four ordinances on second reading but tabled the second reading of the nonconforming-uses zoning ordinance for further review.
Favaloro said plans for playground equipment at Hannah Pickett Park called for swings, slides and climbing apparatus for children ages five to 12. The local Tennessee company Recreational Concepts will install the equipment and provide splinter-free tumble-turf ground cover. The original set, cost $50,000, can be expanded to include swings for handicapped children and adult exercise equipment. Favaloro hopes installation will begin before the end of the year or early next year. Having a plan in place will help raise the additional $25,000 needed, Favaloro speculated. Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman cited American Recovery Act moneys as a possible funding source.
The fishing dock proposed for a parcel on Laurel Lake Drive would offer tables, chairs, and have trash receptacles, Favaloro said. The state park hosted a fishing rodeo at the lake in the past, Rodman said, pointing to a possible future event. Other plans call for planting 100 crepe myrtle trees provided by an anonymous donor, hosting movies in the park with the new portable movie screen, and a September 15 volunteer day for adorning Main Street with pumpkins, gourds, and other fall decorations. Looking to the spring, the Parks and Recreation budget provides for someone to oversee ballfield upkeep and the baseball program.
Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley announced the city would hold a Sept. 11 commemorative observance at the memorial on the Main Street median. The ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is expected to last 20-25 minutes.
Three of the approved ordinances provided for funding necessary city expenses. Among the items approved in the budget amendment ordinances were the purchase of two police vehicles ($22,050) and a fire truck (cost not to exceed $150,000). Greg Maloof, advisor to the police and fire departments, said the used Ford Explorers and rescue-pumper truck previously identified for purchase were no longer available. A search for suitable vehicles is underway. Maloof stressed he had been advised the best course of action for the out-of-service 1998 fire truck was not to repair the truck, cost $20,000, since there was no market for a truck of that age. Maloof estimated the salvage value at $500-$1,000.
The approved zoning ordinance rezoned a small parcel from high density residential (R-3) to low density residential (R-1). The owner hopes to build a single-family dwelling, which was not allowed in R-3 zoning.
The council raised questions about the proposed non-conforming uses zoning ordinance. Building inspector Earl Geary explained the ordinance “relaxes the original ordinance [governing commercially zoned property] which said a nonconforming use [such as a residence] cannot be modified…It gives people an opportunity to add on to [their residence] or change it.”
“This way you don’t have to rezone every piece of property…in these situations,” Rodman observed.
Alderman Nate Wilson asked if the nonconforming-use modifications needed to be brought before the planning commission.
“It [allows nonconforming] use on review…It probably doesn’t say that, but it’s my understanding that’s what it’s supposed to say,” Geary said.
The council tabled the second reading of the ordinance. Rodman asked Geary to research the language question. Geary will consult town planner Garret Haynes who recommended the ordinance. The council will hold another public hearing on the ordinance in September.