Added Security At Lookout Mountain Elementary School Praised At Commission Meeting

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - by Gail Perry

Added security at Lookout Elementary School was praised at the April meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission. A new system requires visitors to be buzzed in after their image appears on a phone screen in the office. This was made possible by a donation from Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham from his discretionary fund and money provided by the town. From the “accolade file,” Fire and Police Commissioner Jim Bentley read a letter of thanks from teacher Ann Perry for the added layer of security. Mr. Graham said that security cameras will also be coming, bought with proceeds from the sale of Ooltewah Elementary School. If a resolution is passed by the Hamilton County commission, $2.2 million made from the sale of East Brainerd Elementary School will be divided to purchase technology equipment for all Hamilton County schools said Mr. Graham.

Principal Ruth White gave a school report with upcoming news and events. She said the garden clubs have discussed building a greenhouse at the school, and TVA has donated $250 to build a weather station.

The next PTA meeting is on May 5, and scheduled for May12, is “Muffins for Mom. Field Day is May 18, Awards day is the 19th and graduation and the last day of the school year is May 20. Ms. White said that 92 percent of the graduating fifth graders will be going to private schools and the rest will go either to magnet schools or Hamilton County public schools. This summer Lee Cook will open the school library for 100 hours. 

Saturday, April 18 will be a big day on the mountain starting with the baseball and softball parade, said Brooke Pippinger, commissioner of parks and playgrounds. This year it will start at Fairyland School at 9 a.m. and will travel to the commons for the opening ceremony. Along the way, Fleetwood coffee and donuts will be available at the lawn of Calvary Church across from the Tennessee shops, provided by Café on the Corner, The Mountain Mirror and the Mountain Market. A donation jar for technology purchases will be there to benefit the schools.

“April on Lookout,” an all day spring celebration will follow the baseball festivities, beginning at 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. that evening. This block party is sponsored by Talus, the Mountain Escape Spa and Yessick’s Design Center. In addition to food and live music, bedding plants, arts and crafts, adoptable pets, and entertainment for kids will be available. It will take place at the Tennessee business plaza on Scenic Highway.

Parks and Playgrounds Director Rick Dockery is still working on getting the backboards installed at the top tennis court, and the water fountains should be put in soon. On May 3, induction of the Sports Hall of Fame will take place at the Community Center.

Commissioner Jim Bentley read the Fire and Police Department statistics for the month of March that was prepared by Chief Randy Bowden. There were 92 police calls, 4161 miles patrolled, response made to 24 burglar alarms, all false, nine assist citizen calls and nine 9-1-1 calls answered. There were 32 traffic stops and no auto accidents, one identity theft and one stolen automobile. Paramedics had 12 calls, and there were two fire alarms during the month. One was false, and the second was a porch fire but with the good response time, minimal damage occurred. Commissioner Bentley said the stolen car has been tracked and four law enforcement agencies know who took it but so far the person has evaded being caught.

A new issue in Lookout Mountain, Tn. involves dealing with “low-speed vehicles” that look similar but that are in a different classification than golf carts, as defined by the state of Tennessee. These vehicles have a top speed greater than 20 m.p.h. but no more than 25. They contain required items such as headlights and stop lights, turn signals, tail lights, reflectors, a parking brake, exterior mirrors, windshields and seat belts. Golf carts have speeds of just 10-12 m.p.h. Chief Bowden said that residents of the town need to be informed that drivers of the low-speed vehicles must have a Class D driver license in their possession while operating them, requiring the driver to be at least 16 years old.  

Walker Jones, commissioner of public works began his report by thanking town employees for the hard work done during inclement winter weather. He also thanked TDOT for keeping Scenic Highway open since he said “it is our lifeblood.” The dumpster will be on the mountain next, on June 1. He said that repairing potholes will be started in mid-May when it will be warm enough. He also described the effort to eradicate Kudzu on the mountain, organized by Robyn Carlton of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. This will require three consecutive years of spraying and should begin this summer.

In his financial report, Town Consultant Dwight Montague reported that $6,000 was spent in March to purchase equipment for the new police car, and that the total cost came in under budget. The last payment for the security cameras was made from the money gifted to the city for that purpose. Purchases made by the public works department were larger than usual, he said, in order to replenish the supply of salt at the cost of $5,600. A Hamilton County school tax of $507 has been paid from liquor by the drink sales. Approval for a contract to perform the 2015 audit was approved for $25,500.

The USA cycling championship will be returning to Chattanooga for the third year on Memorial Day. It will again include the route up Lookout Mountain, three times for women and four for men. Brian Johnson joined Ruthie Oehmig to request a one-day beer permit for the area where spectators will gather. Entertainment is planned and food and drinks will be sold.

An update on rebuilding Café on the Corner was given by Ms. Oehmig who said a series of issues such as bad weather, WWTA requirements and new building codes have held up the start of construction. She cautiously predicted that opening would be in August. A pre-opening fundraiser on the patio is planned in appreciation for the firemen in both Tennessee and Georgia.

Mr. Montague gave commissioners the latest information on the cell phone tower project. He said a revised lease document and final request for proposal will be sent to both Wireless Properties and Grafton, the two contenders vying to build the tower, to get feed-back on the new documents. The bid date is now expected to be August 1.

Mayor Carol Mutter thanked Mr. Montague for his extensive work and the many hours he has spent on putting together the cell phone tower process. She also reported that the yearly town hall information packet has been mailed to residents and asked that everyone read it. A car decal order form is included which must be returned by May 15 if ordering by mail.

A variance request for Bob and Deb Hulse at 910 East Brow Road was granted after surrounding neighbors gave approval. This will allow a six by six foot area to be built for use as an elevator shaft. The required setback of 15 feet will be altered to 10 feet from the alley, but access by emergency vehicles will still be possible.

The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission is scheduled for May 12 at 5 p.m.


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