By Louie Graves
One city bridge project is complete, and the mayor isn’t in a hurry to get a bill for a second bridge project.
At Monday night’s Nashville City Council meeting for August, Public Works Director Larry Dunaway told the council that work was done on the bridge and traffic pattern re-arrangement over Dodson Creek at the Nashville Primary School.
The city will now turn its attention to replacing the long East Howard St. bridge over Mine Creek.
Except that Mayor Billy Ray Jones told the council that he was in no hurry to get a bill from the bridge-builder.
PWD Dunaway said that the base of the Mine Creek bridge — eight 90-ft. steel beams weighing 10 tons each — had finally arrived. The beams were ‘repurposed’ from another project in the Little Rock area. They are now being stored in a pasture near the bridge site here. When built, the bridge will reopen a popular route into town for persons living in the Sand Hill area in East Nashville. The bridge there had been closed for safety issues.
Nashville has been waiting on the steel beams for a long time. Dunaway had previously explained that once the beams were found, a trucking company had to be located which could handle the long pieces. “We didn’t want to have to cut the beams,” he told the newspaper.
Dunaway told the council that he didn’t know the bridge builder’s schedule, and that he would update when something new was learned.
Mayor Jones said, “This bridge will be there for awhile,” referring to the size of the girders.
The mayor explained why he didn’t want the second bridge bill quick. He said that city had spent a lot of money on other projects, for which it would be reimbursed. But in the meantime, he said he didn’t want the city’s reserves to be pulled to low.
Dunaway said that the completed Primary School bridge and traffic direction ‘islands’ worked well Monday, the first day of school in Nashville. “It went really smooth; there were no complaints, no Facebook chatter.”
Dunaway also gave the council an update on long-running plans for lengthy sidewalk projects. Only one easement remains to be obtained for the sidewalk connecting the Sunset Street three-way intersection all the way south to Sypert Street. He also said he had been meeting with property owners along West Sunset Street for the route to the city park. “Getting easements takes longer than the construction of the project,” he explained.
He told the council that city crews would now be able to focus more on problems with potholes, culverts and streets.
Code Enforcement Officer David Riggs talked about two requests which the council later decided should first go to the Planning and Zoning Commission. A request for a special variance will be made by residents of a house at 327 S. Washington where a resale business has been operating out of the house.
Another request will be for rezoning a large space south of Hale Street where someone proposes to build multi-family residences. The promoter will not purchase the property unless the zoning change is approved.
The mayor suggested that the council wait and let the process through the P&Z to take place.
Citizen Arthur Manning asked the council to open South Mill Street which had been closed at the request of the Pilgrim’s mill. Several railroad crossing had been closed to allow Pilgrim’s to stow feed cars.
The company is now operating out of its new mill outside of town, and the mayor noted that Pilgrim had even taken up its rail tracks.
Mayor Jones told Manning that the city wanted the same thing so that emergency vehicles and police could move through now-closed crossings. Manning thanked the council for listening to his request.
The mayor indicated that it was difficult to deal with the Union-Pacific Railroad about crossing the rail lines. He said that Sen. Larry Teague had been a great help in getting the railroad’s attention. Dunaway said that a senior official of the rail line offered to come to Nashville to meet with the city officials and ‘assess’ the situation.
Skip Woessner of the Mckinistry company was present. The city must pass a resolution and an ordinance before the financing of the solar panel project he had presented can go forward. The mayor said there was some difficulty with the language, and that the bond counsel was looking over the proposal. At stake is the company’s guarantee that the project is cost-neutral.
The council may move its September meeting up in order to pass the items and avoid having a special meeting.
Present for the regular meeting for August were council members Carol Mitchell, Nick Davis, Freddie Horne, James Parker, Kay Gathright, Vivian Wright and Donna Harwell. Also, Mayor Jones, PWD Director Dunaway, Finance Officer Kimberly Green, City Attorney Aaron Brasel, Compliance Officer Riggs and City Recorder Mary Woodruff.