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Goose Creek Trail figures to exceed original budget by $300,000

By: Bonnie Davis Guy
Freelance writer

The February 2nd Mountain City Council Meeting came to order with Mayor
Keeble, Vice Mayor Crosswhite, and all aldermen in attendance. Other
city representatives attending were City Recorder Sheila Shaw, City
Attorney Steve McEwen, and many of the managers and directors for the
city. Following approval of last month’s consent calendar with an all
yes vote , Mayor Keeble announced that the agenda would be shuffled
around slightly so the council could consider and discuss the Goose
Creek Trail Project bids and hear financial information regarding the
project from Engineer Gary Tysinger of Tysinger, Hampton, and partners.
Tysinger’s firm has been handling the construction planning and bids for
the Goose Creek Trail Project. Although a section of the trail is
already complete, plans have been in the works for several years to take
the trail from Ralph Stout Park along the creek all the way to the
Johnson County Welcome Center. Issues such as purchasing right of ways
have stalled the project until recently. Now that bids have been
received, it is time for the council to make decisions on completion of
the project. Tysinger informed the council that because the original
grant funded by a Tennessee enhancement program received several years
ago, the bids all came in significantly over the original budget.
According to Tysinger, the bids were as follows: Summers and Taylor-
$755,647, Inland Construction – $627,620, and King General – $564,140.
If they accepted King Generals bid, the project would be some $88,000
over the original budget. This would be for construction only. Mayor
Keeble then directed the council to some figures from Sheila Shaw
regarding the project’s overall cost. According to Shaw, if a
construction bid of $564,140 was accepted along with engineering fees,
permits, and other costs the estimated overall project cost would be
$729,000. The original budget was for $409,594, which would put the
project over by some $300,000.
The council was visibly shaken by these figures and began the process of
discussion and decision-making.
Alderman Jordan said, “I am just wondering how much the trail will
actually be used. Will it be a benefit to our community?”
In response to Jordan, Tysinger stated that in his experience several
surrounding communities had similar trails and all were well used.
Further trails are often used for school events and festivals as well as
for exercise. He cited the trail leading from Persimmon Ridge Park in
Jonesborough to downtown as an example.
In addition to the trail project, the city has three major bridge
projects currently in the works, all to be completed this year as well
as the Multi-Mode Project also known as Highway 67 sidewalk. Mountain
City is obligated to the bridge projects. However, they are not under
any obligation to complete the other projects. However, failure to
complete the trail project and sidewalk would mean forfeiting the grants
and losing monies already spent on right of ways and engineering firm fees.
The overall dilemma is for the city to move forward and take out a
capital outlay note of just over $500,000 to complete all the projects
or to cut the trail and sidewalk, losing the over $80,000 already invested.
Ultimately, the council made a motion to table this issue, consider it
and reconvene in two weeks on February 16 in a special session.
Council members were then given the opportunity to bring up any concerns
or comments they needed addressed.
Vice Mayor Crosswhite and Alderman Icenhour did not have any issues to
bring forth.
Alderman Jordan laughingly asked if there was any way the time on the
clock at the corner of Food Country parking lot could be set to the
correct time. He was assured it would be taken care of. Jordan then
informed everyone that the high school property and all buildings now
had new 911 addresses. The official address will be Fairground Lane and
each building will have a separate number. This will assist in faster
response time and less confusion for dispatchers.
“Thanks to all employees, especially those out working in undesirable
weather, “said Jordan.
Alderman Morrison stated he had received a huge amount of complaints
since Christmas about candy still being thrown during parades.
”There is a huge fear of a child being run over because of candy,”
stated Morrison. According to Morrison, in the upcoming year, the city
needed to reinforce the rule that walkers could hand out candy to the
crowd but that absolutely no candy would be thrown to the crowd from any
vehicle participating in the parade.
Mayor Keeble informed the council that the construction on Village
Square Bridge was still not underway and the city was still waiting on
the state to send a notice to proceed. Once received, the project had
180 days to be completed.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's article.