At their regular February meeting, the Crossville City Council approved a motion to apply for the downtown area to be designated as a Courthouse Square revitalization zone, a pilot program to provide state funding for downtown revitalization.

The designation would allow the amount of sales tax revenue collected in the zone that normally goes to the state to be used instead by the city for the revitalization, development and preservation of the zone. The program is part of legislation passed last year to help local governments revitalize traditional downtown areas.

Funds from the program can be used, among other things, for making loans or grants to the county governing body or any other public or private person, entity or association for use on infrastructure, marketing and other purposes related to revitalization.

The program will be tested with one community in each of Tennessee's Grand Divisions selected from cities that apply for the program and Crossville hopes to be one of those three pilot communities.

The council designates a specific revitalization zone that must then be approved by the state. Crossville City Clerk Sally Oglesby told council members that the designation of the zone has some specific requirements and would have to be reviewed by the state before the zone would be finalized.

Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III said he was very interested in the program that could work in conjunction with the Crossville StreetScape downtown revitalization program. Graham added that StreetScape was already looking at ways to improve the downtown area and was in need of more volunteers. Graham added that they especially needed volunteers from outside the downtown business district to help with the work. Interested volunteers can contact city hall or the Palace Theatre.

To answer the question of why, Mayor Graham read from the information sent to cities with the application, "The city's downtown or traditional commercial district is the most visible indicator of community pride along with its economic and social health. It is either an asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, businesses, industries, retirees, tourists and other to the community."

The council also approved a request from the director of schools, Dr. Pattie Ragsdale, to change School Avenue beside the old Crossville Elementary School from one way to two way. The road was changed to a one-way street many years ago for school buses and parents to use when dropping off or picking up students. Ragsdale's letter points out the building is now primarily a business facility and a two-way traffic pattern would help save time, money and gasoline.

Councilman Boyd Wyatt said he could see no reason to deny this request but had a question of the on street parking for houses along the street. The motion passed with the assurance that residents would be notified of the change.

The council heard about the extended Depot Days celebration planed for this sesquicentennial year of Cumberland County from the Crossville Arts Council's Frances Carson. Carson is also in charge of events for the sesquicentennial. This year Depot Day events are scheduled for Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday. Main Street and some of the side streets in the downtown area will be closed starting Friday through Saturday and the closings were approved by the city council.

Depot Days' extended schedule starts on the evening of Thursday, June 15, with the Taste of Crossville dinner at the Community Complex followed by a bluegrass festival featuring Rhonda Vincent, Mountain Heart and Carrie Hassler. On Friday, a parade in celebration of the county's 150th birthday begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a street dance and carnival. On Saturday, June 17, the day-long Depot Days will take place with exhibits, crafters, artists, music and activities for children.

The city has received copies of the audit for the 2004-05 fiscal year. Council members will have a chance to review the audit and Janice Plemmons Jackson will appear before the council at their March meeting to answer any questions. Mayor Graham said that audit was good with no findings reported.

The council approved a motion to authorize the city attorney to obtain approvals from property owners in the city's industrial park to allow Dana to construct an expansion needing a waiver of the setbacks in the park. The Dana expansion will create 50 additional jobs for Crossville.

The council also approved the purchase of 14 additional Tasers for the police department. Currently only five officers carry Tasers. Carrying a Taser is voluntary for city police officers who must receive training that includes being struck by a Taser.

A request from the Lake Commission to fund the construction of a rental camping cabin was deferred by council. A master plan for the Meadow Park Lake area is under consideration and the cabin location could be changed.

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