Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 11, 2012

County deadlocked on visitor's center project

CROSSVILLE — County commissioners were deadlocked Tuesday evening after voting on two different motions regarding the future of the Big South Fork Visitor's Center project.

One motion was to proceed with the project that failed in a 5-10 vote and the second was to withdraw from the project which failed in a 8-7 vote. Action would require 10 votes.

"Looks like we're deadlocked on this," said Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner.

The meeting then adjourned abruptly after commissioners debated for nearly an hour and took the two different votes.

The meeting was a continuation of a special-called meeting to address the subject. Commissioners recessed the meeting until the city of Crossville had a chance to review and consider its counter offer on operating the Big South Fork Visitor's Center in a partnership where the city would make the $120,000 contribution toward construction and operating the facility at a 50/50 split with a maximum cost to the county of $30,000 per year for 20 years.

The city of Crossville met Tuesday night as well and reportedly approved a counter offer to the county's that said the city would make the $120,000 contribution toward construction and operating the facility at a 50/50 split with and take the cap off the maximum yearly cost to the county for 20 years. The city also gave the county the option of running the facility instead, if it would wish to do so.

"They said if we decided to run it, then they would supply half the operating cost," said Jeff Brown, 8th District commissioner. Brown attended the city's meeting, which adjourned minutes prior to the county's meeting.

"It sounds to me like the fine details could be worked out," Brown said.

Commissioners also suggested that if the county operated the facility County Mayor  Kenneth Carey could oversee the cost so it wouldn't get out of hand.

Brown estimated yearly cost to be around $50,000 to $60,000 but it was also mentioned that the National Park Service and Convention and Visitor's Bureau could staff the facility three days per week.

"I have to note that was mentioned, but there is nothing in writing," Carey said.

Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, said he would go on record again stating his constituents did not want the county to make a 20-year commitment on a facility they could not see giving a payback to the county.

"They are opposed to it. I can't support it," Lynch said.

Johnny Presley, 3rd District commissioner, said several of his constituents called him and he could not support the project.

Dave Hassler, 3rd District commissioner, questioned why the county would want to build something promoting another county.

"If we're going to build something, why not do it to promote us?" Hassler said.

Joe Koester, 5th District commissioner, said the county was looking at getting $800,000 of funding flowing through the county, creating jobs, encouraging people to stop in Crossville and potentially spend tourist dollars here.

"I see an $800,000 benefit to the county and city. If we don't do it we're looking at having to pay back at least $200,000 and have nothing," Koester said.

Hassler asked Cumberland County Attorney Randal Boston if he had had news if the county would have to pay the $200,000 that has been used of the grant money.

"No, I have not. I checked just before this meeting and haven't heard anything," Boston said.

Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, said, "A Big South Fork Visitor's Center will pull people off the interstate. A Cumberland County Visitor's Center will not ... I see the benefit to do it. It's a $500,000 to $800,000 benefit. If we give up we're going to have to pay the $200,000 back. I think the city is doing what it should."

Jan McNeil, 5th District commissioner, said she thought it would be more feasible if the county operated the facility and "call the shots." She said she thought it could be run with volunteers and two part-time employees.

Presley said he thought TDOT and the federal government would tell the county how to run the facility.

Allen Foster, 4th District commissioner, said he liked everything about the city's proposal except for them removing the expense cap.

"That could always change or be re-negotiated. I like what we passed the last time," Foster said.

Harvel questioned if the county could just build its own facility on the land at a much cheaper rate than going by the guidelines of the grant.

Boston said it might be possible, but there would be restrictions and he wasn't quite sure because the contract he had looked at dealt with land that was on Hwy. 127 North, not at the Cook Rd. location off Genesis Rd.

Sabine said, "It may not be in the deed, but I'm sure the donor of the land was expecting to see a Big South Fork Vistor's Center built there.

Brown then made his motion to pursue the project if the city would make the $120,000 contribution toward construction and operating the facility at a 50/50 split with a maximum of $100,000 yearly cost split 50/50 between the city and county for 20 years. Koester supported the motion but it failed.

Voting in favor were commissioners Sabine, Hyder and Robert Safdie, 2nd District; Koester; and Brown.

Voting against were Prsley and Hassler; Foster and Charles Seiber, 4th District; McNeil; Terry Carter and Larry Allen, 6th District; Harvel; Sonya Rimmer, 8th District; and Lynch.

Seiber then made a motion to withdraw from the project and it failed.

"I'd like to the know the cost of it before," Brown said.

Voting against withdrawing from the project were commissioners Sabine, Hyder, Safdie, Foster, Koester, Brown and Rimmer.

Voting to withdraw from the project were commissioners Hassler, Presley, Seiber, McNeil, Carter, Allen, Harvel and Lynch.

Mayor Carey said, "Motion fails. It requires 10 votes."

Lynch then made a motion to adjourn and it was unanimously approved.

Commissioners Brian Houston, 1st District; Roy Turner, 7th District; and Clyde Cramer, 9th District, did not attend the meeting.

Text Only
Area News
  • quackers at the library.jpg Spring jamboree

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect charged in Sportsman Club break-in

    A Crossville man has been arrested and charged in connection with the burglary of a shooting club's building in the county that occurred last week, according to arrest reports.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel discusses auditing hotel/motel tax collections

    Commissioners on the budget committee discussed the possibility of auditing hotels and motels in the county regarding the collection of hotel/motel tax collection figures being down.

    April 17, 2014

  • Repent burglar must serve time

    Some defendants cry, because they get caught, and others are tearful with remorse. No one in the courtroom doubted Robert Killeen's sincerity when he apologized to his victim, his loved ones and supporters for committing crimes against an elderly widow, stealing the money her late husband left her.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel OKs budget amendments

    The Cumberland County Budget Committee approved a $134,506 budget amendment for the Cumberland County Solid Waste Department in order to accept a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for enhanced waste oil collection.

    April 16, 2014

  • Council votes to seek RFQs for wastewater operation

    The city of Crossville has had a 20-year relationship with Veolia Water, the contractor that currently operates the wastewater treatment plant for the city, and while council members say they don't have a problem with the company's service, they have voted to send out requests for qualifications (RFQ) to determine if they have the best company operating the facility.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: Couple sets up house in Tansi pool

    A Lake Tansi couple who suddenly found themselves without shelter set up a temporary home in an indoor pool area at the resort/retirement community, according to police arrest reports.

    April 16, 2014

  • certifying machines.jpg Certifying early voting machines

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mobile Vet Center in town Wednesday

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will have a Mobile Vet Center (MVC) in Crossville at the Cumberland County Community Complex 1398 Livingston Rd. on Wednesday, April 16. MVC 844 will be at the Community Complex from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    April 15, 2014

  • The Palm Tree Revisited

    Palm Sunday is right around the corner. Since we don't have palm trees in our neck of the woods, there probably aren't many people who think about their unique characteristics. Several years ago I read a devotional by Dr. Cecil A. Fayard Jr., “The Palm Tree Revisited,” and want to share some highlights.

    April 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice