The “bridges to nowhere” on Canada Road south of I-40 are finally going “somewhere.”
The bridges extensions were among a variety of decisions made by the Board of Commissioners (BOC) during their regular meeting Feb. 9.
For those who have lived in Lakeland several years, two pedestrian bridges were built but had no apparent destination. However, they were always planned to continue over I-40 once the new interchange was built. They became the target of much teasing for years since they appeared to go “nowhere.”
Now the City is set to get a $475,000 Transport Alternatives TA) Grant which will finish those bridges along with other work. “The project will extend the existing trails from the bridges to the sidewalk being installed as part of the interchange project,” said Emily Harrell, city engineer. “It also includes stamped, colored concrete crosswalks at Monroe Road and U.S. Highway 64 as well as some minor improvements to the existing trail.”
Mrs. Harrell said the federal portion of the money is $380,280 with the City of Lakeland providing $95,070. “Yesterday it was approved by the Engineering and Technical Committee of the Memphis MPO. The final vote will be Feb. 23 by the Transportation Policy Board (of the Memphis MPO),” she said.
There is also a TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) TAP grant for $2,274,098.43 (federal portion is $1,819,278; local is $454,819, added Mrs. Harrell. “In addition to the improvements listed above, the TAP grant includes pedestrian lighting, an additional trail on Monroe Road to tie into the conservation area of Lake District (or Lake Forest), concrete crosswalks, gateway signs at the interchange and miscellaneous trail improvements. The scope of work will be reduced which will be a reduction in the grant amount although it may not be by the exact amount as the design and construction inspection are included in the total grant amount,” she said.
Mayor Wyatt Bunker commented that it’s a shame those bridges were constructed so long ago and now they must be rehabbed to be usable.
“Live Stream” is the name of the company from which the City would like to purchase video equipment with live streaming capability. As the meeting started, a resolution for this equipment was added to the agenda.
Commissioner Matt Wright introduced the resolution, saying filming meetings has been discussed for some time at school board meetings. (Mr. Wright was formerly on the Lakeland School Board LSB). “The technology is more affordable now,” he noted, “and doesn’t go through social media.”
He suggested the equipment could be used to live stream LAMP concerts or committee meetings and perhaps the school system would also want to use the equipment. “This will be a valuable tool to the City and our citizens.”
The resolution was approved unanimously.
Cost is $650 initially for the equipment purchase with the account on “Live Stream” and archive capabilities costing $500 per year. Mayor Bunker suggested the City should buy the initial equipment and offer to split the annual $500 cost with the Lakeland School System.
Justifications for the purchases, said Mayor Bunker would include:
- Volunteers currently video meetings but we can’t guarantee all meetings are videoed and committee meetings aren’t currently filmed.
- It would be a valuable tool for City Recorder Jessica Millspaugh.
- The archives feature would be helpful to staff and citizens.
Commissioner Michele Dial asked if permission would have to be granted by citizens who speak at meetings. City Manager Jim Atkinson said there are more rules for schools but not the same restrictions in a public meeting.
Mayor Bunker said signs could be posted saying meetings are being recorded.
Eight items on the consent agenda were approved by commissioners as well as seven on the regular agenda. Kurt Wagner was appointed to fill a vacancy on the EDC (Economic Development Commission).
An ordinance amending the fiscal year 2016-17 budget was approved. Link to the budget: https://lakelandtn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6065 .
The personnel pay plan for fiscal year 2017 was approved by a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Clark Plunk voting no. Mrs. Millspaugh, also the city finance director, said these are administrative items to accommodate the approved budget amendment. The only changes were moving the public relations specialist to the plan from another location in the budget and adding the human resources (HR) and payroll clerk to the plan. The City will initially pay the entire cost for HR/payroll clerk but the LSS will reimburse for half the cost as a shared personnel person. Link to personnel pay plan: https://lakelandtn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6045 .
The City Attorney was given approval to file and pursue a counterclaim in response to litigation initiated by ViktorHall Construction. The company made improvements to IH Clubhouse, IH Park and built the two gateway signs.
Mr. Atkinson said the business, “Is challenging the liquidated damages that we applied per the contract. The countersuit simply establishes the amount at what is actually owed to ViktorHall, after liquidated damages are applied and payment for damages he caused and has not repaired.”