​Community Council Announces Crosswalks Relocation

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

A round of applause greeted the announcement at the Feb. 26 Sewanee Community Council meeting that the crosswalk installations at the Blue Chair and Senior Citizens Center would be relocated to dangerous crossing sites on the Mountain Goat Trail. The council adamantly objected to the pushbutton crosswalks when they first appeared in August 2015 echoing residents’ complaints the installations were “obtrusive” and reduced already inadequate parking. Vice-Chancellor John McCardell heralded the crosswalk relocation as illustrative of the council’s ability to “get things done.”
The council agreed with McCardell’s suggestion the council pass a resolution thanking Franklin County Highway Commissioner Joe David McBee and others who worked to address the issue. McCardell’s office will draft a resolution for the council’s review.
“This will benefit the entire community,” said University Superintendant of Leases Sallie Green, who had met with McBee, Mountain Goat Trail Alliance Executive Director Patrick Dean and William Shealy, University Superintendent of Landscape Planning & Operations, to review possible relocation sites on the trail. The group agreed on the Hawkins Lane and Airport Road crossings as new homes for the push-button crosswalks.
Council representative June Weber cheered the relocation sites commenting, “People are like a target crossing at Airport Road.”
The push-button crosswalks at the Senior Center and Blue Chair will be replaced with “cone variety” crosswalks like others on campus, Green said. Parking will be restored in front of the Blue Chair and the curb lines repainted. At the Senior Center, the wider crosswalk designation will remain as a convenience to seniors.
Turning to an issue raised by council representative Cindy Potter, Provost Nancy Berner addressed concerns about unsightly dead brush and trees left standing beneath power lines and the environmental impact of the herbicide used to kill power-line right of way vegetation.
“The brush used to be cut,” Potter said, “and I understand that,” agreeing with the importance of inhibiting tree growth beneath power lines.
Berner said she consulted with Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC). DREMC minimizes growth with both brush clearing and herbicides. Cut growth is removed; brush and trees killed with herbicide are left standing. Independent contractors carryout right of way vegetative management for DREMC, for chemical control using the herbicides Escort and Garlon 3A.
Director of Physical Plant Services Mike Gardner will investigate the environmental impact of the herbicides used.
If there is a need, “DREMC will address the council,” Berner said. Berner will direct council members who want to pursue the discussion to the appropriate DREMC contact.
University student Will Murphy presented an overview of the Relay for Life fundraiser scheduled for next fall to raise awareness and help fund American Cancer Society efforts to provide information and assistance to those battling the disease. Rotaract, a student group recently chartered by Sewanee-Monteagle Rotary, will host the Oct. 6 Relay for Life. Participating teams accept the challenge of their donating sponsors to have at least one team member on the track for the duration of the 10 hour event.
“It’s encouraging the campaign is starting early,” McCardell said, proposing the council sponsor a team.
To register and for more information contact Murphy at (781) 336-8262 or murphw1@sewanee.edu.
Revisiting the January discussion about Project Funding awards, the council approved five community service project grant requests. Please see the sidebar to the right with the Project Funding Award recipients..
The council meets next on March 26.