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published on 08/10/2004

Signal Mountain Parks Struggle With Vandalism

By staff writer

Green Giants Present Trophy
What’s wrong with this picture? A brand new playground designed for young children and older children, a couple of pavilions with picnic tables, lighted tennis courts, and a multi-purpose surface area for pick-up basketball games and restrooms with locked doors. Locked because unsupervised children and/or bored teenagers are vandalizing the restrooms. This we learned from the Signal Mountain town manager, Hershel Dick at the regularly scheduled meeting at Town Hall on Monday, August 9, 2004.

Two members of the Playground Committee, Brandi Buntin and Coughlin Cooper were present at the meeting and addressed the Council with issues concerning the new playground. In addition to the vandalism that plagues the restrooms, items such as a fence to protect children from the upcoming renovations at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club; landscaping plans including a small sprinkler system; and a street sign as well as permanent sign directing people to the park were discussed. Plans for the dedication which will be held at the Signal Mountain Lions Club Labor Day barbeque on September 6 as well as revealing the name of the park, and the gift Mr. Blake Moore has offered which is a bear totem pole which he carved were also discussed. The town manager agreed to help the committee with much of the last minute things needed to get ready for the dedication including fixing the restrooms.

Other business followed the Pledge of Allegiance led by Major Pete Garland and his son Jake. Major Garland has just returned from active duty flying in combat in Afghanistan. Mayor Jim Althaus offered prayer, which included prayers for the town recorder, Diana Campbell and her family at the recent death of her mother. Filling in for Mrs. Campbell was Jane Wilson. Also present at the meeting were Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bill Leonard, and Councilmembers Steve Ruffin and Rachel Bryant. Councilmember Robert White was out of town. Town attorney Phil Noblett and town manger, Hershel Dick were present.

Other business included the passing of three Resolutions. The first was an interlocal agreement with the town of Cleveland, TN and other municipalities for the use of the chipper used by the Public Works Department of Signal Mountain. Cost is $100 more per hour than last year’s agreement, but according the town manager well worth it. The second Resolution passed was one appointing Mr. Scott Ferguson and Fire Captain Jim Frazey to the Condemnation Board for the Town of Signal Mountain. The Town Code requires a representative of the Fire Department and one from the insurance industry. Former member, Cy Robinson passed away, therefore, Mr. Ferguson will be replacing him on the committee. The other member of this committee is Hugh D. Huffaker. The third Resolution was one proclaiming support of the Tennessee Guard and Reserve Forces for employees of the Town of Signal Mountain. A copy of the statement of support will be displayed at the Town Hall as a testimony of the Town of Signal Mountain’s support.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of two trophies. The Signal Mountain Swim Club, better known as the “Green Giants,” presented the trophies to the Town of Signal Mountain. Winning both the City Championship and the Diving Championship, Mayor Jim Althaus praised the group representing the team on behalf of the Town especially for their hard work and commitment to the team. Members of the audience agreed by cheering and clapping.

Mayor Althaus recognized Betty Jones, Gloria Montgomery, Ann Ozborn, Jo Kellum, and Catherine Smith for the recent Fourth of July Community parade held July 3rd , which ran along James Boulevard from Alexian Village to the new playground. He encouraged the planners make this an annual event.

The Planning Commission met. Lou Oliphant, secretary, presented the Town Council the report which included business pertaining to the transfer of land to Alexian Brothers, the separation of two lots owned by Frank Peele, and a discussion of the Zoning Ordinances which Mr. Olin has so diligently been working on. A special meeting to discuss changes was called for in order to present the changes to the current Councilmembers.

Under final business Councilmembers addressed the Council beginning with Councilmember Bryant. She thanked members of the Playground Committee for their desire to serve the community and asked what the status of the tax increase is for the Town of Signal Mountain. Attorney Phil Noblett explained that it is an open-ended agreement but that the Town Council has the final decision to honor the referendum vote which was to raise the taxes if and when Hamilton County decides to build a high school on Signal Mountain.

Councilmember Ruffin asked the town manager to update the Rainbow Lake parking lot on Ohio Avenue reminding him that residents in the area have been very patient. According to Mr. Dick, the town is still waiting for dirt valued between four and five thousand dollars to be donated by the Alexian Brothers when construction of the new residence begins which should be soon. Mr. Ruffin also announced that he will be seeking a second term on the Town Council.

Vice-mayor Leonard announced that Signal Mountain’s retired K-9 officer, Wolf, died recently and will be missed by his partner, Officer Greg Hill and his family. Wolf’s service to Signal Mountain through the D.A.R.E. program will always hold a special place in the hearts of children on the mountain. He also praised the recent production of the Signal Mountain Playhouse, the vastly improved road conditions through designated paving the Town is working on; praised Sam Powell for his dedication to the parks and trails; and noted that the got mtn. vision? Strategic planning meetings will resume in October where citizens can learn what has happened so far and begin to plan where to go from here.

But most importantly, Mr. Leonard announced that TDOT will be making some very important changes along the highway coming up the mountain. After meeting with officials, he and the town manager were able to secure improvements of the guardrails near Shoal Creek and then along the “cliffs.” There is also hope that work will at sometime begin on shoring up the highway along the cliffs where the land has eroded out underneath the road. TDOT has asked the residents on the mountain to be patient with them as they make these very necessary improvements.

Mayor Althaus reported that Mr. Scott Cook will remain as part-time recreation director even thought he has accepted a position at a school in Dalton, GA. He praised the town employees remarking on the successful town picnic honoring each employee that is held every year; and announced that the Benton property on Anderson Pike now belongs to the Town of Signal Mountain and will serve as the sight of the next fire sub-station.

Final word came from the town attorney who announced the recent settlement between the James family and Tabb family and Town of Signal Mountain allowing work on the CVS to begin in a couple of months. The meeting ended around 8:45 PM.

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