​Monteagle Approves Fire Department Grants; Weighs Two High Cost Projects

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Aug. 28 meeting, the Monteagle City Council authorized the fire department to apply for two matching grants that will require contributions on the part of the city if funded. The Council also discussed two high-priority high cost projects: replacing the leaking community center roof and a matching grant with a September application deadline, which would extend the Mountain Goat Trail across the interstate.
The council approved the fire department’s request to apply for a FEMA Assistance Grant for a new engine and to employ a grant writer, cost $500, to draft and administer the grant. If the grant is received, the city will be required to pay for 20 percent of the new engine. The cost will depend on the engine’s specifications.
The council also authorized the fire department to apply for a $3,000 Tennessee Municipal League grant for safety equipment. The city’s portion of the 50:50 match will be $1,500 if the grant is received.
The department is waiting for a response to a Tennessee Division of Forestry grant application for funds to purchase digital portable radios, said fire department representative Jeremy Blalock. Having digital radios as well as analog radios will expand the department’s communication range, Blalock explained.
Mayor David Sampley said the two bids the city received for replacing the Community Center roof were far higher than anticipated: Westerfield Roofing, $27,135; Lowe’s, $27,983.
The Community Center houses the May Justus Memorial Library. The building’s roof is a combination of shingles and rubber roofing material on the flat section.
“The rubber roofing wasn’t done properly the first time,” Sampley said.
“The library doesn’t have a budget except for wages,” noted Vice Mayor Jessica Blalock.
The council tabled the roof project for further discussion.
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance President Nate Wilson thanked the council for voting at the July meeting to help pay for handicap access. Wilson asked the council to consider authorizing the MGTA to apply for a million-dollar Multimodal Grant on the city’s behalf to construct the section of the trail crossing the interstate.
If funded, the 95:5 matching grant would obligate the city to a $50,000 contribution to the project.
“How long would we have to pay?” asked Alderman Kenneth Gipson.
Wilson said the city would need a line of credit to pay 5 percent of each bill as it came in over the two-year construction period. He stressed the Southeast Development District Multimodal Grant was the only grant of this type available to rural communities.
“We’re committed to making it work for you all,” Wilson insisted, “and we want to discuss how.”
The council will hold a special called meeting for that purpose at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4.
In the interim, council members will meet with visiting TDOT engineers who will offer advice on the challenging interstate-crossing section of the trail. Using the old railroad bridge is being considered, Wilson said.
Reporting on Parks and Recreation, Jessica Blalock said high winds damaged the outdoor video screen used for free children’s movies. Blalock will get bids on replacing the screen. Blalock will also get bids on replacing a broken angel statue.