By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. said the county's new health department facility should be completed by the end of November.
The news was just one of the subjects Carey addressed during his update about the county during Farm Bureau's annual Farm/City Breakfast. Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III also spoke during the annual event and gave updates on city projects.
Carey said the new health department project is being funded by a $4.5 million federal grant and the county's investment will be around $1 million.
"The new health department will also house up to three dentists. We anticipate it to be complete at the end of the month and opened around the first or second week of January," Carey said.
Carey said the county will be involved in a state scenic byway project next year promoting Old Walton Rd. He said the project highlights the road that ran through Roane, Cumberland, Putnam and Smith counties.
"There will be some federal funding involved in that and it will be heavily promoted in 2013," Carey said.
The project will bring tourist travelers into the communities that are off the main highways.
Carey said the Big South Fork Visitor's Center project was still on the table.
"TDOT has approved the new plan and we are putting together a new bid package and hopefully it will meet the criteria," Carey said.
Carey said the main reason for the project was to bring tourists and increase tourism spending in the county. He anticipates the project will be rebid again in December or early January.
"If it comes in under bid requirement, construction could begin in spring," Carey said.
The site is off Genesis Rd. and near Roane State Community College and Stone Memorial High School.
Carey said since the county closed the landfill it has had to focus more on recycling.
"We have ramped up our recycling program. Our recyclable sales have gone up from $150,000 a year when I came into office up to $418,000 this past year," Carey said.
The recycling helps reduce the tipping fees it has to pay for hauling away solid waste.
Carey also said the county received a state award for the new glass recycling program.
"We are the first and only county in Tennessee operating a program like this, recycling glass as a sellable product," Carey said. "It is something we are very proud of."
Cumberland County won a Governor's Stewardship Award for the program.
Carey also said highway expansion projects are on the horizon in the county on Hwy. 127 N. and 127 S. and Peavine Rd. through TDOT. No time frames were mentioned.
Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III said that tax revenue in the city of Crossville was $172 million per year when he became mayor in 1998 and is now up to $372 million.
"Crossville is a city that continues to grow and we have to plan for that growth," Graham said. "There are more retirees on their way."
Graham said there are 10,000 people retiring every day in the USA and the city was planning on 100,000 coming to Crossville in the next 20 to 25 years.
"What we do is look at all departments and have them develop a 20-year plan," Graham said.
He said the city is working on finding a way to catch the water up here on the mountain before it runs down the mountain.
"We hope to have a plan in order to increase Meadow Park Lake and double its capacity," Graham said.
Graham also discussed the road system around the city of Crossville.
"In 1970 a plan was started to build a circle around the city. Now, we are looking at completing the Northwest Connector which will connect from Genesis Rd. over to the Playhouse. It will take 7,000 cars a day off Elmore Rd." Graham said.
The city will soon be addressing a way to take care of storm water runoff.
"We've got to address our storm water now," Graham said.
The Downtown Crossville Project will take care of the infrastructure for water lines in the downtown area.
"We have $4.5 million in grants to apply on the project and I look forward to presenting this information to the (city) council and I look forward to the project and working together with the council," Graham said.
Graham said he also looks forward to working together with the county on future projects.
The city and county have worked together on several projects and he foresees more to come.
"We have $800 million in retail sales and tourism dollars. That was more than Putnam County. We owe a great deals of thanks to the Chamber and their promotion of our city and county," Graham said.
Graham also said the city was looking forward to "making new friends, abiding by rules and helping the community grow."
Al Wilson, Cumberland County Farm Bureau president, presented both mayors with a Christmas cheese basket gift.
The invocation at the beginning of the meeting was given by Jack Chadwell.
The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Campaign has introduced the Feed 155 program. Feed 155 celebrates American farmers' and ranchers' productivity, with one grower producing enough food to feed 155 people.
The annual event also featured a full breakfast buffet at the Cumberland Mountain State Park Restaurant. Dozens of political and community leaders attended the event including state Rep. Cameron Sexton and State Senator Charlotte Burks as well as several Cumberland County commissioners, city council members and city of Crossville employees.
The annual event is part of the celebration of National Farm/City Week during Thanksgiving week and celebrates the cooperation between the rural and city dwellers to mutually benefit the county's well-being.