New city sidewalks may link parks, school

by Danny Wade

When the Humboldt City Board met last week, only three board members attended, barely having enough for a quorum. Board members Bob Pruett and James Shivers were unable to attend.

The board’s first item of business was approving the second reading of Ordinance 2017-05 to rename a portion of Vine St. between 6th Ave. and 9th Ave. to Rev. J.T. Freeman Street. Mayor Marvin Sikes noted that no one showed up at the public hearing on the ordinance held prior to Monday’s meeting.

The board unanimously approved the ordinance. Mayor Sikes said the street signs were already up.

•The board also acted on a resolution that could possibly make upgrades to the Spangler Park, Viking Park, Barker Memorial Stadium and Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School properties. The resolution authorized an application to the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the Transportation Alternative Program for a grant to improve these properties with sidewalks.

TLM Associates’ Travis Martin presented drawings showing where sidewalks would be built to connect all the properties together. The plan also included sidewalks to residential areas nearby.

“I’ve talked with Dr. Versie Hamlett (superintendent of Humboldt City Schools) and she thinks it’s a wonderful project,” Mayor Sikes told the board.

“The first leg would go to Viking Park and links up with the walking trail, then picks up at the ball fields and comes behind the most beautiful ball field in the nation,” he said smiling.

“I’ve been at meeting with the parks and recreation board,” Martin told the board. “You’ve got two parks so close together. Also, there’s no handicap (accessibility) on the south side to the parks. I’ve heard of kids putting plastic bags on their shoes when they walk through the park to get to school. Connectivity is the main focus.”

Drawings Martin handed out to the board showed where the sidewalks would be built under this program. It also showed where future sidewalks could be added later to make the properties more accessible.

“Does this go to the housing project?” Alderman Don Graves asked.

Martin said it does and will include crosswalks and flashing lights.

Mayor Sikes said the entire project is estimated at $596,000 but with the 80/20 grant, the city’s portion would be $156,800. He added that city treasurer Kim Hadley had said the city’s portion would not be a problem within the budget.

Martin also noted there is no guarantee the city’s application would be accepted since it is a competitive bid but he likes their chances of being approved.

•The city board approved purchasing a new leaf machine. Mayor Sikes said they only received one bid. When he opened the bid during the board meeting, it showed two versions of Dinkmar leaf machines. They were similar with one having a metal hose and the other a flexible hose. The bids were $27,351 and $28,588.

Mayor Sikes said the difference in price was a little over $1,000 and suggest the board approve the better leaf machine. After looking closer at the pictures and specifications of the two machines, he changed his mind and thought the cheaper, flexible hose machine would work better with the city’s dump truck and leaf box.

Graves asked if Willie Reed, Humboldt Public Works supervisor, had looked at the different versions.

Sikes said he hadn’t since the bid had just been opened at the meeting.

Alderman Leon McNeal made a motion to accept the bid for less expensive leaf machine with a stipulation it is the one Reed suggests.

City attorney, Terri Crider suggest the motion be to accept the bid from Dinkmar and allow Mayor Sikes and Reed decide which machine would be best.

McNeal revised his motion. Alderlady Donna Johnson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

•Dawn Fallert, new owner of Crown Winery, submitted an application for an on-site consumption beer permit.

Humboldt Police Chief Rob Ellis contacted Fallert’s references that were all favorable and did a background check that showed no issues.

The on-site consumption beer permit was approved.

Johnson asked the mayor if the winery’s previous owner, Rita Howard, had turned in her beer permit.

Sikes said he had talked with Howard and said she would surrender the permit once Fallert’s permit is approved.

•Aldermen approved the police report and the fire report. Johnson praised the fire department for work done at the house fire on Avondale where a lady lost her life. Both shifts worked the fire. All the board members agreed.

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