Airplanes were a topic of discussion at July’s Crossville City Council meeting. 

There was the metaphorical high of a cutting-edge aviation company based in Crossville, tempered by discussion of reducing the heights of trees near the airport to comply with FAA regulations and make landings safer.

Ethan Hadley, president/CEO of the Crossville-Cumberland Chamber of Commerce, told Council that Whisper Aero Inc., which had its “corporate reveal” this week announcing its Crossville headquarters location, has landed a $7.5 million contract with the U.S. Air Force. Although the company has garnered headlines for developing an air taxi featuring quieter propulsion, that technology could have more earthbound applications as well.

“The reality is it could go into a leaf blower and make it quieter,” Hadley said. “If you can reduce the sound of something, that has a bunch of applications. That’s really exciting news.”

Less exciting is the issue of some trees being too tall and affecting the glide slope of landing planes at the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates a certain amount of clearance between the glide slope of incoming planes and any obstructions. 

A number of trees on the lakeside near the airport exceed the maximum height to maintain the prescribed clearance distance. In response, the City budgeted a little over $100,000 to have the trees reduced 10 feet in height to comply with the regulation and allow for future growth. The work called for someone climbing each tree and topping it off and hauling away the timber from, in many cases, private property.

The estimate for the job came back at more than $400,000,  prompting City Council to approve a motion to seek financial assistance from the state in the form of a 95/5 grant that would be preceded by a mandatory environmental study. 

In other business, City Council authorized City Attorney Will Ridley to start negotiations on acquiring three parcels off Main St. that previously housed the Ford dealership. 

Councilman Rob Harrison said acquiring the property, seen as a possible site for an indoor recreation center, would aid in the economic development of Main St. He added he’s not committed to building a recreation facility at that site, but they would have that as an option if Council decided to go that route.

Council member Scot Shanks remains a proponent of acquiring the property and selling the 24-acre Webb Ave. tract that was purchased by the city for $540,000 during an online auction in late May. 

Although smaller than the Webb Ave. parcel, the former Ford dealership land is flatter and has garnered more support among his constituents as a future site for a recreational facility, Shanks said.

As for the Webb Ave. property, Shanks said he remains confident they could sell it at a profit. 

Not all discussions of flying objects Tuesday revolved around airplanes. Hadley reported a tripling in membership of the local disc golf club. That increase likely stems from the building of a disc golf course at Meadow Lake Park. Hadley said design sleeves for the chain baskets have been placed in the ground and a sanctioned tournament is planned for October.

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