​Monteagle to Help Fund MGT Handicap Access

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the July 30 meeting, the Monteagle City Council voted to allocate up to $7,000 toward constructing a handicap accessible ramp on the Mountain Goat Trail (MGT). The council also debated whether or not to grant a business permit to an establishment seeking a license to sell liquor-by-the-drink.
Presently the Sewanee to Monteagle section of the MGT ends in the field adjacent to Dollar General, said Mountain Goat Trail Alliance (MGTA) President Nate Wilson.
“The reason you don’t see handicapped using the trail is because they can’t get to it,” insisted Monteagle resident Jonathan Grimes. A paraplegic, Grimes’ body hits the ground when he exits the trail on his hand bike.
Wilson said the MGTA had raised $19,000 toward completion of the $30,000 project, which will extend the trail to a handicap accessible ramp at Mountain Outfitters. Mountain Outfitters welcomed the trail traffic, Wilson explained, while Dollar General did not.
Dollar General has pledged financial support of an as yet undetermined amount. Wilson asked Monteagle to fund the shortfall, not in excess of $7,000; to move a water meter hampering the construction; and to pay for the seed mulch needed for landscaping (cost $750).
Mayor David Sampley confirmed the city’s budget could accommodate the request. Alderman Susie Zeman abstained from the vote.
The council deferred a decision on Wilson’s proposal Monteagle partner with the MGTA in applying for a Recreational Trails and Parks Grant to fund completion of the trail from Mountain Outfitters to the liquor store. The town would need to contribute $40,000-$50,000, Wilson said. The funds wouldn’t be needed until 2020–21.
In the discussion about Jesse’s Grill’s request for a business permit, Vice Mayor Jessica Blalock pointed out the business hoped to receive a license to sell liquor by the drink. Monteagle zoning forbids sale of liquor by the drink within 300 feet of a playground, church or school. Jesse’s Grill, which opened last week, is across the street from the ball field. The business is operating under a temporary permit, which does not include beer and liquor sales.
The state advised Blalock not to grant the establishment a business permit if the city didn’t want to allow liquor sales since receiving a business permit opened the door for state approval of a liquor license.
The council postponed a decision contingent upon review by city attorney Harvey Cameron.
The council also discussed the delay in repairing a 30,000 gallon per month water leak. Utility Systems supervisor John Condra said a potential developer owning adjacent property had not responded to a letter detailing the infrastructure costs he would be responsible for to receive water service. The type of repair will depend on whether the developer proceeds with the project.
Monteagle will reopen bidding for a contractor to demolish the Lane Avenue church. The single bid submitted was not in the proper format.
The council approved on second reading the following paid holidays: New Years Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas eve, and Christmas. The council approved on first reading awarding double time pay to city employees required to work on holidays.
The council approved the following purchases: a 2018 Ford Explorer, $29,394 (police department); 3-4 self-contained breathing apparatuses, budgeted amount $2,500 (fire department); a Harton Park playground border to comply with state certification, $2,100.
The council also approved sponsoring a girls’ softball team and the first reading of a new zoning ordinance bringing the city in compliance with state requirements.
A resident read a letter thanking sewer treatment plant employees for rescuing her two dogs, one from a pond and the other from a pipe at the plant. Condra said the area will be fenced.
The next regular meeting of the council is Aug. 27.