Banner Staff Writer
The Charleston City Commission is considering closing and opening times for the city park.
Commissioner Donna McDermott said some citizens have questioned her about people being in the park late at night. “We need to lock up the bathrooms and put chains at the entrances,” said McDermott.
Mayor Walter Goode and Commissioner Larry Anderson added they also have had some inquiries about questionable activities in the park.
Police Chief Hank Hayden said he still runs into local residents who enjoy walking in the park late in the evening.
McDermott said she has also been informed about possibly inappropriate activities in the park. Goode said the city could post signs limiting park hours, which may curb vandalism and other activities. The mayor also emphasized the city doesn’t have the manpower to monitor security in the park around the clock.
The Commission took no action at Tuesday’s meeting, favoring to wait until next month to decide whether or not to establish opening and closing hours. “I think we need to discuss this some more before we change times,” McDermott said. She added she has also received complaints about the condition of the pavilion.
Several other issues were discussed at Tuesday’s Commission session:
n At least three residents attended the meeting to complain about roadways and run-down property. Two ladies asked if the city plans to make any improvements in the Scott Lane, Pine Street and Rhinecrest areas. This is the area around the old Charleston Cemetery. They claim the road is too narrow, grown up and much of the surrounding property is cluttered. Another resident is concerned about locations on Dunn Lane and Bates Street.
One woman wanted the city to add a street light for security. The mayor said there is already street lightning in the area and the city doesn’t have funds for such a project.
It was mentioned the utility company would place a security light near the woman’s home at a nominal fee. She responded she felt the city should put up a light. “What you’re wanting is for us to illuminate just your home,” said Goode.
The residents also complained over overgrown property at separate locations. Staff will be mailing letters to some of these offending residents.
n Goode expressed his appreciation of the opening of the new Piggly-Wiggly grocery store on Highway 11. “It’ll be up to us if the store stays or leaves,” he said. “We all need to patronize our local businesses.”
It was also discussed there is the possibility the old Sonic Drive-in would be re-opened by a new business owner.
n The Charleston maintenance crew has been busy working on a culvert area along Worth Street, so the street can be re-opened to through traffic.
With progress of the work complimented by Hayden, city personnel said the roadway should be opened next week. There will be some pavement of the road.
n McDermott said she is concerned by the lack of signage on Bates Street to make people aware of children playing near the street. She said there is one sign along the road, but perhaps the “Children Playing” sign is on the wrong side of the road.
It was stated there is a horse-farm operation in the area and considerable traffic. Residents are concerned children are at risk of being hit by traffic. It was decided three additional “Children Playing” signs will be strategically located along the street.
- McDermott also discussed basketball facilities that are available at the city park. She said some smaller goals should be purchased for smaller children, because the goals now available are too large. Goode said the city probably should have purchased some adjustable goals.
The city is in the process of filing for a grant for the park, and the request possibly could feature some smaller basketball goals.
- Perhaps the longest discussion at Tuesday’s meeting was an old issue ... logging trucks traveling through Charleston to the nearby Bowater Paper Mill.
Hayden suggested the city talk with State Rep. Eric Watson and others about asking trucking companies to change some routing in the area. City officials would like to see the trucks travel by Exit 33 on Interstate 75 to the Calhoun Exit 36 to reach Bowater. This would lessen traffic through the city.
Officials say they have been urged to monitor the truck traffic and ticket violators. Hayden said it is difficult to pull the big trucks off the road in Charleston
Goode reminded the commissioners the trucks have been traveling the Highway 11 route since the mid-20th century.
The I-75 bridge just south of the Calhoun exit has been mentioned as a concern for truck traffic. The mayor said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer has said TDOT has no problem with trucks crossing the bridge.
The city will contact Commissioner Schroer for verification of bridge concerns.
- Bradley County Fire Chief Dewey Woody says the recruitment of new firefighters for the county is going well. “We want to make sure we have enough people to pull from,” Woody said of anticipated hires.
The county recently received 105 applications from potential firefighters, Woody said. Thirty-nine advanced to the physical evaluation, but four failed, two didn’t show and one pulled his application. “We’re trying to get ready for the last of June, when will be hire full-time firefighters,” the county’s fire chief said.
Woody also added the fire department is getting ready to order six new trucks, three engines and three tankers.
- Charleton’s Parks and Recreation Department is planning a special event for the city on July 4th. Some have suggested a fireworks display, but Chief Woody said there are plenty of rules and regulation for such an activity.
- Renovation of the old Region’s branch bank building into a Charleston Cultural Center is progressing.
Callaway Bray has added some landscaping to the developing center as his Eagle Scout project. Bray is the grandson of former Bradley County Commissioner Jackie Calloway.